News from the Good Ship Leaf is not good as the Heritage City franchise continues to fight the injury bug heading into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League stretch run.“Unfortunately, we’re not getting any healthier,” said Leaf coach Dave McLellan on the eve of Friday’s 7 p.m. home game against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at the NDCC Arena.“And that hurts has in many areas of our game — power play, penalty killing . . .,” McLellan added.“Hopefully we get them back in a week or two.”What has been frustrating for the Leaf coaching staff is when one player returns, another goes on the injury list.“Our original goal was to be up and running and ready for the playoffs,” McLellan confessed.“But right now it’s hard to assess that when we don’t have our set power play units in place or set concepts because everyone is moving around playing in different roles.”Who’s in and who’s out? Good Question On the positive side, McLellan did see the return of defenceman Patrick Croome and forward Blair Andrews during last weekend’s East Kootenay road trip.However, both players had some considerable rust with their game.“We had (Patrick) Croome back in the lineup, but he played like he’d been out of the lineup for two months,” said McLellan.McLellan said forward Dylan Williamson may see limited action this weekend after recovering from a hand injury as well Michael Crawford, who left the team, is now back with the Leafs.Nelson’s second leading scorer, Matt MacDonald, remains out of the lineup.MacDonald was definitely missed last weekend as Nelson scored one goal in two games.Help from the Kootenay Ice McLellan said defenceman Aigne McGready-Bruce should be in the lineup to bolster the Leafs this weekend as his Ice team is idle in the BC Hockey Major Midget League.McLellan said he also hopes to give Ice netminder Jason Mailhoit some action before the regular season ends.Hawks on horizonNelson, playing in Spokane Saturday, has a mid-week contest next week as Beaver Valley pays a visit to the NDCC Arena.The Hawks, holding a nine-point lead on the third-place Leafs in Murdoch standings, are winners of three straight entering weekend action.
PLETCHER’S UPSTART DAME DOROTHY, WHO IS OWNED BY WORLD-RENOWNED CHEF, BOBBY FLAY, STRETCHES OUT IN SEARCH OF SIXTH WIN FROM SEVEN STARTS ARCADIA, Calif. (March 11, 2015)–Fresh off the biggest win of her career, California-bred Warren’s Veneda heads a field of seven older fillies and mares set to go 1 1/8 miles in the 78th running of the Grade I, $400,000 Santa Margarita Stakes this Saturday at Santa Anita.Conditioned by Craig Lewis, Warren’s Veneda followed up on an off-track win in the 1 1/16 miles Paseana Stakes Jan. 11 with an emphatic 2 ¾ length win at the same distance in the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes on Feb. 14, which was her first graded victory. A 5-year-old mare by Affirmative, out of the Flying Continental mare More Cal Bread, Warren’s Veneda is owned by her breeder, Benjamin Warren.Although Warren’s Veneda will try a mile and one eighth for the first time Saturday, she is at the top of her game and the way she won the Santa Maria would indicate the extra sixteenth of a mile should be well within her grasp. With an overall mark of 21-7-3-5, she has earnings of $587,612.A winner of the Grade III Monmouth Oaks six starts back this past August, trainer Larry Jones’ Cassatt ships west from New Orleans on the heels of three consecutive gate to wire scores at three different tracks, having won the Zia Park Oaks on Nov. 26, the Tiffany Lass at Fairgrounds Dec. 21, and the Houston Ladies Classic on Jan. 24.A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly by Tapit, Cassatt appears to be the speed of the Santa Margarita field, although she could get pace pressure from Bob Baffert’s Tiz Midnight. Owned by Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Cassatt is 9-6-1-0 and has earnings of $603,033. Like the favorite, she too will try 1 1/8 miles for the first time.A close second to the mighty Beholder four starts back in Santa Anita’s Grade I Zenyatta Stakes Sept. 27, Tiz Midnight won the Grade II Bayakoa two starts back at Los Alamitos Dec. 6, but bombed on a wet fast surface as the heavy 3-5 favorite in the Paseana Stakes Jan. 11, finishing sixth, beaten 15 ½ lengths by Warren’s Veneda. A 5-year-old mare by Midnight Lute, Tiz Midnight has come back to train well for Baffert and she’ll try to rebound on dry land Saturday.Bred in Kentucky by Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Tiz Midnight is owned by Watson, Weitman and Mike Pegram and she has an overall mark of 10-4-3-1, with earnings of $334,970.Todd Pletcher’s upstart Dame Dorothy, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Bernardini, ships west from South Florida following a two length win in the seven furlong Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 17. Owned by world-renowned chef, Bobby Flay, Dame Dorothy was a Grade III winner going 1 1/16 miles three starts back at Belmont Park Oct. 26 and has won five of her six lifetime starts. Based at Palm Beach Downs training center, she has earnings of $357,460.Off at odds of 52-1, trainer Keith Desormeaux’s California-bred Uzziel was second, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Warren’s Veneda in the Santa Maria. Well beaten two starts back in the Grade I, seven furlong La Brea Stakes Dec. 26, Uzziel has sprinter-type speed and could be dangerous contesting the early lead along with Cassatt and Tiz Midnight.A 4-year-old filly by Harlington, Uzziel is owned by her breeders, James and Tammy McKenney and will make her second start in the care of Desormeaux. She is 12-4-1-2 overall with earnings of $199,138.The complete field for the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race card Saturday, all horses assigned 118 pounds, with jockeys in post position order: Legacy, Joe Talamo; Cassatt, Kerwin Clark; Dame Dorothy, Rafael Bejarano; Thegirlinthatsong, Mike Smith; Tiz Midnight, Martin Garcia; Uzziel, Kent Desormeaux, and Warren’s Veneda, Tyler Baze.First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.