04/18/2007 11:00PM

Angel of the House shooting for place


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Dave Cotey has been active as usual this spring, with three winners from 17 starters in the first eight days of the Woodbine meeting.

On Saturday, Cotey will be looking to play the role of giant-killer when he sends out Angel of the House against the undefeated Like Mom Like Sons and four other 3-year-olds in the $125,000 Woodstock at six furlongs.

Like Mom Like Sons, an impressive winner against older rivals in a 6 1/2-furlong race in his first start of the season for trainer Sid Attard, appears to tower over his opponents in the Woodstock.

Cotey doesn't disagree but certainly feels justified in taking a shot with Angel on the House.

"Nobody's going to beat Sid's horse, barring something unforeseen," said Cotey, who supplemented Angel of the House to the Woodstock at a cost of $2,500. "But if you look at the other horses, I think we've got an excellent shot of being second. I'd have to run him against older horses, if I look for something else."

Angel of the House, a Kentucky-bred who was a $3,000 yearling purchase, campaigns for Cotey in partnership with Derek Ball, Hugh Galbraith, and Gregg Peacock.

"From day one, he trained like a nice horse," said Cotey. "He's a good-feeling horse, and he's sound."

Angel of the House started six times at 2, graduating at a mile on the turf in his penultimate appearance, then finishing a solid fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Display here Nov. 25.

"We didn't start him up this year until Feb. 3, and he came into the racetrack on Feb. 17," said Cotey, who winters his stock at Huntington Farm. "You could see, coming in, that he was doing well. They don't go back that far when they raced that late in the year.

"He just picked up where he left off."

Angel of the House, making his season debut in a first-level allowance here April 6, was facing the winter-raced Safety Zone and the winter-trained Northern Report.

"I thought he'd be real close," said Cotey. "The last two times he worked five furlongs, he had gone real easy and galloped out strongly. He had some fitness to him."

Angel of the House was closer than close, as he wound up in the winner's circle after moving to the lead in early stretch and fending off Safety Zone by a neck under apprentice jockey Tyler Pizarro.

And the way he won leads Cotey to believe that Angel of the House will have no trouble with Saturday's slightly shorter distance.

"He was right there three furlongs out, and right on top of it going for home," said Cotey. "He shouldn't have any trouble cutting back to six furlongs."

Lottacosta back on short rest

Lottacosta's speed served her well at 2 as she won 2 of 4 starts, including the five-furlong My Dear Stakes, in a campaign that ended after a third-place finish in the six-furlong Ontario Debutante here Aug. 19.

"There weren't a lot of open races for her, and she had just had enough as a 2-year-old," said John Ross, who trains Lottacosta for the Jam-Jar Stable of Bud and Jackie Reynolds. "She'd worked hard. She needed time to grow and develop."

To that end, Lottacosta went south with Ross to Payson Park for the off-season.

"She had a good winter," said Ross. "She had a lot of miles under her when she got back here at the end of March."

Lottacosta, a Kentucky-bred, displayed a different style in her 3-year-old debut as she rallied from off the pace to finish second behind Grandy's Glory in a second-level allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs.

"It was very encouraging," said Ross.

On Sunday, Lottacosta will be attempting to build on that effort when she swings back in the six-furlong Star Shoot, a $125,000 race for 3-year-old fillies.

"I didn't want her to be up front all the time," said Ross. "She was one-dimensional last year. I wanted her to sit off the pace."

Ross discussed the new tactics with Justin Stein, who was riding Lottacosta for the first time here April 13.

But the plan did not go smoothly when Lottacosta, running on Polytrack for the first time, took exception to the kickback around the turn and appeared to be dropping out of contention.

"As soon as she got that stuff in her face, she dropped back a little bit farther than we'd have liked," said Ross. "She came off the bit a little bit."

Ross had hoped to start Lottacosta in a five-furlong prep on April 7, but when the race did not fill he opted for the allowance race six days later.

"Running her back in nine days is a little closer than I'd like," said Ross. "But, the good news is she came out of the race well."

Ashlee Brnjas trains family stable

Ashlee Brnjas has taken out her trainer's license and will send out her first four runners on Saturday.

Brnjas, 25, will serve as the private trainer for the Colebrook Farm of her father, John Brnjas.

Tom Bowden, who trains the Colebrook horses on the farm in Uxbridge, has been the trainer of record for the outfit here this spring and has sent out four winners.