05/30/2002 11:00PM

American in Paris top claim


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - American in Paris has been a going concern for her owner/trainer, Audre Cappuccitti, since being claimed for $16,000 here in November of 2000.

Next Sunday, June 9, American in Paris will put another feather in Cappuccitti's cap when she is be honored as claiming horse of the year at the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club's annual awards day here at Woodbine.

"She's been wonderful," said Cappuccitti. "She reminds me so much of Regal Date - she's not correct, but she's got a big heart.

"They're so much alike - great dispositions, lovely to be around."

Regal Date, claimed for $16,000 here in the fall of 1994, went on to win seven times and finish in the money 19 times in 31 starts for her new barn.

American in Paris has won seven times and finished in the money 14 times in 16 outings for Cappuccitti.

Last year, American in Paris banked $114,746 with a record of four wins and nine in-the-money finishes from 11 appearances, all but one of which came in the claiming ranks.

While she has started just four times in 2002 the mare already has earned $111,682, winning her first three outings before finishing third in an $80,000 optional claimer last time out.

"She's just a kind, sweet horse," said Cappuccitti, "but when she goes out there, she tries 110 percent."

The Racing Club, which will preside in the second-floor International Room with the award presentations taking place in the walking ring, also will be honoring trainer Bob Tiller, jockey Todd Kabel, apprentice jockey Chantal Sutherland, and owner Sam-Son Farm.

The trainer and jockey awards are based on races won at Woodbine, while the owner award is based on money won.

Oaks draw on Wednesday

Catriona Le May Doan, winner of the gold medal for 500-meter speed skating and Canada's flag-bearer at the 2002 Olympic winter games in Salt Lake City, will be the honorary drawmaster for the Labatt Woodbine Oaks. The draw will take place at 12 p.m. Wednesday in the new trackside tent at Woodbine.

The $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run Saturday. The Oaks will be televised nationally by Sportsnet in a live one-hour show beginning at 3 p.m.

The leading contenders for the Oaks are Ginger Gold, Canada's champion 2-year-old filly and second in both the Fury and Selene in her two starts this year; Gonetofarr, the Fury winner; and Mulrainy, who finished third in the Selene.

Interestingly, the 1 1/16-mile Selene has not had much impact as an Oaks prep in recent years. Dance Smartly was the last filly to race in both the Selene and the Oaks, winning both in 1991.

In recent years, the Fury has been the key Oaks prep. Four straight Oaks winners - beginning in 1997 with Capdiva and followed by Kirby's Song, Touch Dial, and Catch the Ring - all bypassed the Selene en route to their Oaks successes.

Last stakes prep for Plate

Saturday's card, which will have an early first post of 12:35 p.m., also includes the $125,000 Victoria Park, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds that is the last stakes stepping-stone on the road to the Queen's Plate.

Regal Intention won the inaugural edition of the Victoria Park en route to his Plate victory in 1988.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run here June 23.

o Woodbine is moving to a five-day-a-week racing schedule, with Thursday added to the lineup this week. There will be racing every Thursday, beginning at 12:55 p.m., except those weeks when there is a holiday Monday program.

o The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, located here at Woodbine, will be unveiling eight new permanent panels honoring previous Thoroughbred inductees. The new displays will celebrate the accomplishments of Awesome Again, who was inducted in 2001; John Passero, 2000; D.G. "Bud" Willmot, 1991; Jack Stafford, 1982; Ted Mann, 1982; Flaming Page, 1980; Conn Smythe, 1977; and Commander J.K.L Ross, 1976.