06/17/2003 11:00PM

Arco's Gold breezes for Queen's Plate

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Arco's Gold put the finishing touches on his Queen's Plate preparations here Wednesday, breezing three furlongs in 38.60 seconds on the training track.

Trained by John Ross, Arco's Gold will be making just his second start of the year in Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

"I know I'm repeating myself, but I wish I had one more race under his belt," Ross said. "I've just had to do the best I can to get him there the best I can."

Arco's Gold, who dead-heated with Plate favorite Mobil here in last year's 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity and was awarded sole possession of first via disqualification, missed several weeks of training this spring after taking ill upon his return from wintering in Florida.

In his only start this year, Arco's Gold colt finished third behind Wando in the 1 1/16-mile Marine. Ross later decided to train the colt up to the Plate rather than subject him to the rigors of an interim prep race.

Wednesday morning, under exercise rider Chad Beckon, Arco's Gold jogged a mile and then galloped another mile prior to his blowout.

"It was just to stretch his legs, and open up his lungs," Ross said. "Everything's good; I'm happy with him now."

Ross will have another Plate entrant in Dance Engagement, a maiden who finished second in his second lifetime start in the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park here June 8.

"He bounced back real good," Ross said. "He's just thriving right now. He's a happy and improving horse."

The Plate field remained at 13 as of Wednesday but there was a substitution made, as Knob Hill Stable will run Rockfield instead of Islendingur.