09/20/2005 11:00PM

Always First preps for Sky Classic in six-furlong work


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Always First, who accompanied Atto Mile contestant King of Happiness on his trip here from California, got in a work over Woodbine's turf training course Wednesday morning.

Always First, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Sheikh Maktoum al-Maktoum and trained by Neil Drysdale, is preparing for the Grade 2, $300,000 Sky Classic here Oct. 2.

The Sky Classic, a 1 3/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, is the major local stakes prep for the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International at 1 1/2 miles on turf Oct. 23.

Always First, who began his career in England, has started five times since joining Drysdale in California this year, with the highlight being a win in the Grade 2 Sunset at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on July 17.

In his last outing, on Aug. 28, Always First finished sixth, beaten 5 1/4 lengths, in the Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on grass.

With exercise rider John McInerney in the irons here Wednesday, Always First breezed six furlongs in 1:15, accompanying Last Answer, who breezed seven furlongs in 1:28.60.

Last Answer, who had regular rider Corey Fraser in the irons, also is eyeing the Sky Classic.

In his last start, which came here in the Sept. 5 Niagara at 1 1/2 miles on grass, Last Answer was beaten 6 1/4 lengths as the fifth-place finisher.

"When the speed backed up, he was taken up and got stopped a little bit," said Mike Keogh, who trains Last Answer. "He's a one-paced horse. If he gets in trouble, it takes him time to quicken again. I thought he ran a big race."

Last Answer, a 6-year-old gelding owned and bred by Gustav Schickedanz, won the Chief Bearhart at 1 1/4 miles on yielding going here last fall.

Looking at two turns for Edenwold

Edenwold, winner of four straight races, including a trio of stakes, breezed four furlongs in 50.40 seconds over the training track here Wednesday with regular rider David Clark aboard.

The work was Edenwold's first since he won the Simcoe here Sept. 4.

"He's already had six solid races," said Josie Carroll, who trains Edenwold for Jim and Alice Sapara. "I just freshened him up a little bit. He just needed a little break in between."

Edenwold won a five-furlong maiden race, the six-furlong Colin and Vandal, and the seven-furlong Simcoe during an eight-week span.

Carroll has Edenwold nominated to the Grade 3, $250,000 Grey, an open 1 1/16-mile race here Oct. 10. The Canadian-bred colt also is eligible for the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race here Nov. 6.

"It would be nice to get one two-turn race into him before the end of the fall," said Carroll.

Silent Course looks set for Mazarine

Silent Course, a Canadian-bred who became a stakes winner in the seven-furlong Muskoka here Sept. 4, worked five furlongs in 1:01 under exercise rider Lucy Woolley on the main track Wednesday.

Trained by Dave Cotey, Silent Course is preparing for the Grade 3, $250,000 Mazarine, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies here Oct. 1 that attracted just 16 nominees.

"Our filly worked dynamite today," said Cotey, who owns Silent Course in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith. "She worked on her own and did it really nice and easy. She just looked great doing it, too."

Motel Dancing, a Kentucky-bred who races for Cotey and company, also is being considered for the Mazarine after winning her maiden at a mile and 70 yards in her last start here Sept. 14.

Warm Rain to go in La Lorgnette

After the feast here last Sunday, comprising the Atto Mile, Canadian, and Summer, this weekend's stakes fare is considerably lighter.

Saturday's $139,375 La Lorgnette, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, attracted a field of seven headed by local stakes winners Elle Runaway and Coastal Fortress.

Trainer Bob Tiller, who has won three 3-year-old filly stakes this year with his turf-loving Top Ten List, had been on the fence but entered Warm Rain in the La Lorgnette on Thursday.

Warm Rain finished second to the now sidelined Lemon Maid, one of the leaders of the division, in the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'n' Dale here June 25.

A Kentucky-bred whom Tiller owns in partnership with Greg Thompson, Warm Rain followed up with another second-place finish at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, beaten just a neck by older stakes winner Touchnow under second-level allowance conditions.

Then, after winning that condition at one mile on turf, Warm Rain returned to stakes company for the Ontario Colleen Handicap but finished last of 13 over the same distance and surface.

"She kept getting bumped down the backstretch and backed out of there," said Tiller, who won the 2001 La Lorgnette with Madame Red. "I'd like to think the race is a throwout."

Fraser retains the mount on Warm Rain.

Swynford tops Sunday card

Sunday's headliner will be the $125,000 Swynford, an open seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

The $100,000 Flaming Page, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares, also will be offered, but it is an overnight stakes and can be scrapped if it fails to fill to management's satisfaction.

Gala to benefit retirement operation

More than 300 members of the local racing industry will be in attendance at Friday night's first annual LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society's Black and White Gala here at the trackside tent.

The gala includes performances by award-winning musician Jeff Healey and the Jazz Wizards, dinner, and auctions featuring trips, artwork, tickets to sporting events, and memorabilia.

LongRun has close to 30 horses on its foster farms awaiting adoptive homes. In five years, the charity organization has placed more than 150 retired racehorses in new homes.