06/12/2008 11:00PM

After 32 tries, finally a winner


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Starflight Lad, Woodbine's favorite maiden, will have to find a new claim to fame after coming home in front in his 32nd career start here Thursday.

Rallying from last place in the field of 11 under Chantal Sutherland, Starflight Lad was up in the last jump to score by a nose and finally end the suspense for his trainer, Danny O'Callaghan.

"I'd never had a 5-year-old maiden, let alone one who'd started more than 30 times," said O'Callaghan, who also owns Starflight Lad in partnership with Suzan Dumont-Dymon. "But he's been a lot of fun, no doubt about that. I've never had a horse that I've had more advice about over the years."

Starflight Lad, an Ontario-bred son of Trajectory, debuted for O'Callaghan at the $40,000 maiden claiming level with a third-place finish at five furlongs here Sept. 2, 2005.

O'Callaghan remained Starflight Lad's trainer of record for all but two starts in June 2006 at Fort Erie, where he raced for trainer Stanley Smith, who was on hand here Thursday.

Heading into Thursday's 6 1/2-furlong test, Starflight Lad had finished second seven times, third eight times, fourth nine times, and fifth three times.

"He's a poor man's horse," said Al Dymon, husband of Starflight Lad's co-owner, who retired several years ago from his position as manager of racing operations at Woodbine. "He created a following; it's amazing. People just seem to relate to that."

Meanwhile O'Callaghan makes no secret of his next move with Starflight Lad.

"A nonwinners of two," he says.


Silver Jag joins Queen's Plate cast

Silver Jag breezed six furlongs in 1:15.60 here Friday and has joined the list of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds heading to next Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate.

"He went very well; I was very satisfied," trainer Josie Carroll said after watching Silver Jag work in company under jockey Slade Callaghan. "If he comes out of it all right, we'll take a shot at the Plate with him."

Silver Jag is winless in four starts and is coming off a sixth-place finish in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race here June 1.

Three weeks earlier, Silver Jag had finished a good second to an older rival in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race, which was his first try around two turns.

Tattling kicks off big week

There will be plenty of stakes action this week in addition to next Sunday's 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, beginning with Wednesday's $100,000 Tattling for fillies and mares.

The Tattling, an open 1 1/16-mile turf race, serves as the prep for the Grade 2, $300,000 Dance Smartly, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for the same set here July 12.

Sans Souci Island, a 4-year-old filly, breezed four furlongs in 48.80 seconds on the training track turf course here Friday and is a possibility for the Tattling.

Roger Attfield, who trains Sans Souci Island, already has Russian Rosie penciled in for the Wednesday night stakes feature.

Callwood Dancer, also trained by Attfield, breezed four furlongs in 49.80 on the turf and will await the Dance Smartly.

Glitter Rox, another Tattling candidate, breezed four furlongs on the main tack in 35.80 here Friday.

Plenty of stakes

Saturday will feature a potential stakes doubleheader in the $100,000 Hill 'n' Dale, an open 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, and the $100,000 Charlie Barley, an open one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds.

The Charlie Barley is an overnight stakes and will need at least five entrants to be carded.

Supporting the Queen's Plate will be a pair of graded turf stakes for 3-year-olds and upward. The Grade 3, $200,000 Highlander goes at six furlongs and the Grade 3, $100,000 Singspiel at 1 1/2 miles.

The Thorncliffe, a $100,000 open overnight stakes for 3-year-olds, is also on offer Plate Day on what promises to be a blockbuster program.

Racing Club awards presentation

The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will celebrate its 46th annual awards day at Woodbine this Sunday.

The club will be based in the third-floor Champions area, and trackside presentations will be made to Woodbine's top performers of 2007.

Award recipients include Patrick Husbands, leading jockey; Tyler Pizarro, leading apprentice; and Sid Attard, leading trainer.

The club's signature award, claimer of the year, will go to Ballado Dancer, who is trained by Marko Mesic.

Sam-Son Farm, which suffered devastating losses this winter with the deaths of Eliza Samuel and Tammy Samuel-Balaz, will be honored with a special award of merit.

Trujillo ships in to ride Dicey Riley

Jockey Elvis Trujillo, who is based at Churchill Downs, will be here Sunday to pilot Dicey Riley for trainer Wesley Ward in the $150,000 Victoria Stakes.

Trujillo also will ride Wind in My Wings for trainer Reade Baker in an optional claiming/second-level turf allowance on Sunday's program.

Baker has given Trujillo the call on Kentucky Bear for next Saturday's $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup, a 1 3/16-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Trujillo's only previous appearance here came in 2004, when he finished last aboard the Ward-trained Leo Getz in the Coronation Futurity.

Rainford hoping for 2009 return

It's official.

Apprentice jockey Michelle Rainford will not ride this season.

"It wasn't an easy decision at all," said Rainford, 28, who has not returned to race riding since being sidelined by a concussion and its after-effects last June. "But it's the right thing to do, for my health and my career."

Rainford had won 25 races and ranked eighth in the standings when her 2007 campaign came to a premature end.

In 2006, she won 65 races and ranked ninth in her first full season of riding.

All being well, Rainford hopes to be back in action next year.

"I definitely want to resume my career," Rainford said.