07/20/2006 11:00PM

A 50th anniversary dance

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Jambalaya (inside) defeats Last Answer in the Singspiel Stakes last time out.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Jambalaya is closely inbred to the legendary Northern Dancer, and it is only fitting that he looms a serious contender in the inaugural running of the $700,000 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf on Sunday.

The Grade 2 Northern Dancer is the feature on a fine 11-race card, which will commemorate Woodbine's 50th anniversary. The first 1,000 customers will receive a set of the 2006 Woodbine trading cards collection.

Sunday's supporting stakes are the $125,000 Ontario Matron for fillies and mares on the inner track and the $75,000 Ontario Jockey Club for older grass runners.

Jambalaya, trained by Catherine Day Phillips, won his first stakes in the 2005 Breeders' Stakes, going 1 1/2 miles on the grass. Returning from a winter break in May, Jambalaya wound up third in a one-mile allowance, then finished a close fourth in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup Stakes. He is coming off a neck win in the 1 1/2-mile Singspiel Stakes under regular rider Jono Jones.

"His first race was used as a springboard to the Connaught," Day Phillips said. "He ran very well in the Connaught, but, unfortunately, was on the bad end of a head-bob. He stretched out nicely to the Singspiel, where he didn't have an ideal trip. Jono was the first to say that he thought he moved a little early on him. Despite that, he was game down the lane and dug in when he was challenged."

Day Phillips said the Northern Dancer was on Jambalaya's itinerary ever since she found out about the race last winter.

"It was a logical choice, given his liking for the mile and a half distance," Day Phillips said. "He's come up to it very well. He's healthy and happy."

Revved Up, based at Saratoga with trainer Christophe Clement, captured the Grade 2 Niagara BC Handicap going 1 1/2 miles here last September. He was recently victorious in a June 23 $100,000 optional claimer at Belmont, from which runner-up Certifiably Crazy exited to take the Draw Shot Stakes at Belmont.

Porfido, a multiple Group 1 winner in his native Chile, is making his second North American start. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Porfido was a flat fifth in Revved Up's June 23 score, which was his first appearance since he won the Group 1 El Derby Feb. 5.

Grade 1 winner Pellegrino won his debut for trainer Roger Attfield, in the Grade 3 Elkhorn at Keeneland in April. He was a disappointment in his next two outings, in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap and in the Singspiel, where Attfield tried blinkers on him.

"He's a strange horse to read into," Attfield said. "He's very lazy in the mornings. I was quite confident the first time I ran him at Keeneland, and we won. He didn't run so well at Churchill, and when he came here, I put blinkers on him as an experiment and he was very rank. The last two races have been a little confusing to me, and we're not [using blinkers] again. We're going in here hoping to find the right trip, and see what happens."

Sky Conqueror won his first stakes convincingly on July 3, in the Grade 2 King Edward BC.

"He won his last race pretty well in hand," said owner Bill Sorokolit. "The big question is whether or not he can go a mile and a half. I'd love to have this race at a mile and a quarter, which would be the natural progression after the mile and an eighth King Edward."

Last Answer ran second in the Singspiel in his second start off the shelf. Like Jambalaya, he is inbred to Northern Dancer in his third generation.

Shoal Water, the probable pacemaker, was fourth in the King Edward in his first outing in nearly two years.

All seven runners in the field have Northern Dancer somewhere in their family tree.