05/29/2007 11:00PM

Allowance serves as tune-up for Highlander


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stradivinsky, who scorched his opposition in his seasonal bow in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier here April 14, will be the center of attention when he returns to action in Friday's feature at Woodbine.

Stradivinsky's stage will be the $79,900 allowance prep for the Grade 3, $200,000 Highlander here June 24, Queen's Plate Day.

"He's been breezing very well since the Jacques Cartier," said Malcolm Pierce, who trains the Florida-bred Stradivinsky. "And, he's had plenty of time - that was by design.

"The goal is to get to the Highlander, and this looks like a good stepping-stone. It gives me three weeks. We're on target, and everything's good."

Both the prep and the Highlander itself are scheduled for six furlongs on turf.

"This will be my first chance to run him on the grass here," said Pierce.

Pierce took over as Stradivinsky's trainer here last summer and has saddled him for 3 wins in 4 starts on Polytrack. Prior to joining Pierce, Stradivinsky had made 8 of his first 10 starts on turf, winning his maiden and a first-level allowance in Florida and finishing third in a couple of minor stakes there.

"Most of the horses by his sire, Stravinsky, are grass horses," Pierce said. "I know he's a pretty fast horse, and a pretty good horse."

Emma-Jayne Wilson retains the mount aboard Stradivinsky, a 4-year-old gelding who will break from post 7 in the field of eight.

Stradivinsky's opponents will include Marco Be Good, a 12-1 upsetter in last year's Highlander, and Main Executive, who was the runner-up in the Sovereign Award voting for champion sprinter last season.

Marco Be Good, a 5-year-old gelding owned and bred by Dom Romeo and trained by John Ross, was a solid second in his first start of the year in the New Providence, a six-furlong stakes for Ontario-sired horses here May 12.

"His first race was a good effort," Ross said. "I just hope he can come up with another one.

"He's a happy little horse, and he's doing everything right. He has no issues this year."

Justin Stein again gets the call on Marco Be Good, who will begin from post 4.

Main Executive, a 5-year-old gelding, finished a close sixth in his seasonal bow in the New Providence.

"I thought he would come up a little bit short," said Radlie Loney, who trains the homebred Main Executive for Bruno Brothers Farm. "I didn't have time to get enough work into him."

Main Executive has tried turf just once, faltering to finish 11th after dueling with Marco Be Good in the early stages of the Grade 2 Play the King over seven furlongs here last August. Marco Be Good also weakened there, ending ninth.

Loney, however, believes that Main Executive was not at his best at that point of the season.

"I think he's very good on the turf; he relaxes more," Loney said.

Todd Kabel will be back aboard Main Executive, who breaks from post 2.

Elle Runaway set for Nassau

Pierce also will be represented in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau, with Elle Runaway set for the 1 1/16-mile turf feature for fillies and mares.

Elle Runaway, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, has started twice this year, with her latest effort a third-place finish in a classified allowance over 1 1/8 miles of turf at Keeneland on April 22.

"She's been aiming for the Nassau since her race at Keeneland," Pierce said. "She ran some good races here last year. She likes this course."

Pierce also pointed out that Lady of Venice, the winner of that allowance race at Keeneland, came back to capture the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park on Monday.

Jiggs Coz and Include Us prep for Plate Trial

Jiggs Coz and Include Us, who both are eyeing Sunday's $150,000 Plate Trial, tuned up for the 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here Thursday morning.

The Plate Trial is the penultimate local stakes stepping-stone to the $1 million Queen's Plate.

Jiggs Coz, with regular rider David Clark in the irons, breezed four furlongs in 50 seconds on the training track.

"We worked him an easy half to loosen him up," trainer Sid Attard said.

Jiggs Coz will be making his second start of the season in the Plate Trial after winning the seven-furlong Queenston here May 5.

Include Us, a maiden who is trained and partly owned by Roger Attfield, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 on the training track turf course Wednesday morning.

The main track was closed for a second straight day to accommodate Polytrack renovations, and Attfield opted to avoid the busy training track.

"I didn't want to breeze him out there with so many horses out there," Attfield said. "It was crazy."

Lottacosta works on turf for first time

Lottacosta, trained by John Ross, breezed three furlongs in 35.20 seconds on the training track turf course here Wednesday.

"That was her very first work on turf," Ross said. "She did gallop on sort of a field turf course at Payson Park, and seemed to go over it very well."

Lottacosta, winner of a second-level allowance over six furlongs here last time out, is eyeing the $100,000 Alywow, a 6 1/2-furlong overnight turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies on June 10.

Apprentice allowances extended

Jockeys Michelle Rainford and Dean Deverell, who did not race during the off-season, both have had their apprentice allowances extended by 113 days.

Rainford can ride with the five-pound allowance through Sept. 17, and Deverell through Sept. 8.