Strut the Stage Ready for Bows in Sky Classic

(from Woodbine report)
Away from racing for 10 months with a stress fracture of the tibia, Strut the Stage has come back strongly in two starts. The talented Kentucky-bred will be difficult to beat in Saturday's $275,250 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.

Strut the Stage captured the 1 3/8-mile turf event two years ago. He'll spot his seven rivals from nine to 18 pounds while carrying top weight of 123 Saturday.

The Sky Classic is final key local prep race for the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-I) Oct. 24 at Woodbine.

After finishing third to Sam-Son stablemate Shoal Water in July's Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes (Can-II), the diminutive chestnut captured the Niagara Breeders' Cup Stakes (Can-II) by four lengths as the 1-5 choice.

"He battles every time and he's really come along nicely considering he was away from racing for almost a year," said conditioner Mark Frostad of his 10-time winner from 21 races. "I figured he would run a good race in the Niagara, but he was really on the top of his game that day. It was a very impressive race."

The lifetime earner of $1,496,986 has been a major player at the Toronto oval throughout his career, winning seven races over the E.P. Taylor Turf Course, including back-to-back triumphs in last year's editions of the Chinese Cultural Centre and Niagara Breeders' Cup.

Strut the Stage, a son of Theatrical, has not finished worse than fourth in eight consecutive starts dating back to the fall of 2002.

The 6-year-old's seen limited action over the past two campaigns – six races, to be exact – but hasn't hampered his performance.

"He's in great shape and is doing quite well," offered Frostad, seeking his fourth Sky Classic championship. "He's a brave, little horse and he has a lot of heart."

Frostad will also saddle Sam-Son's Longship, Rainbows For Luck and Colorful Judgement, the latter fresh off a second-place showing to Strut the Stage in the Niagara Breeders' Cup.

$275,250 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-II), 3 & up, 1 3/8 miles (turf)
1/Lenny The Lender/Chantal Sutherland/Richard Jukosky/110
2/Colorful Judgement/Slade Callaghan/Mark Frostad/114
3/Rainbows For Luck/Todd Kabel/Mark Frostad/107
4/French Lieutenant/Simon Husbands/Catherine Day Phillips/110
5/Longship/Rui Pimentel/Mark Frostad/105
6/Jambalar/Corey Fraser/David Bell/107
7/Strut The Stage/Todd Kabel/Mark Frostad/123
8/Last Answer/Emile Ramsammy/Michael Keogh/109