04/26/2007 11:00PM

Arravale, 4, points for Nassau


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Arravale, Canada's Horse of the Year and champion female turf horse in 2006, checked back into Woodbine without fanfare a couple of weeks ago and has been gearing up for her 4-year-old bow.

A Kentucky-bred owned by Robert Costigan and trained by Mac Benson, Arravale defeated older fillies and mares here in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes to cap a five-start 2005 season in which she earned more than $1 million.

"She came down to Payson Park with me around the first of December," said Benson, who regularly spends the offseason at that Florida training center. "She wintered great."

The Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares here June 2, is the scheduled launching pad for Arravale's 2007 campaign.

Then, all being well, Arravale will be heading to California for the third time in her brief career.

"She's invited to the CashCall Mile at Hollywood Park," said Benson. "That's what we're trying for."

The CashCall, to be run July 6, offers Grade 2 status and a purse that has been raised to $1 million.

Arravale shipped to Hollywood and finished third in the Grade 1 American Oaks last July 2, then returned to Woodbine before heading back out West to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 19.

Ice Bear a possible Plate supplement

Benson has a potential Queen's Plate prospect in Ice Bear, a homebred 3-year-old gelding whom he trains for the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge Jr.

Ice Bear is not eligible for the $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here June 24, but can be supplemented at a cost of $5,000 by May 1.

"We definitely have that in mind," said Benson.

Ice Bear started twice here at 2, winning his opener at six furlongs and finishing second in a first-level allowance race at the same distance.

"He could be all right," said Benson.

Other returning runners in the Benson barn include Greeley's Flame, who won five races while sprinting in the upper claiming and allowance ranks here last year, and Pleasant Amelia, who scored in back-to-back turf races here last June.

Juvenile name prompts quick change

There is no stakes race here this Sunday, but the release of the overnight produced some unexpected excitement.

A 2-year-old colt with the phonetically vulgar name of Joke Hunt was entered in the two-furlong fourth race by owner-trainer Wayne Rice.

The matter was reported to the Jockey Club by the local branch of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society and the Woodbine racing office.

Late Thursday afternoon Joke Hunt, who is based at Penn National, underwent a rapid name change and has appeared on a revised overnight as Indy O.

Early tests for big events

Next weekend's stakes features will be Saturday's Queenston, for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, and Sunday's Fury, for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

Both the Queenston and the Fury are seven-furlong races worth $150,000 and could serve as stepping-stones to the major races for each division, the Queen's Plate and the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 10.

Queen's Plate hopefuls in the Queenston should include Jiggs Coz, trained by Sid Attard, and Dancer's Bajan, trained by Bob Tiller. A total of 21 horses were nominated.

Palace Pier, trained by Darwin Banach, looms as the filly to beat in the Fury, which attracted 23 nominees.

Fury nominees breeze in Kentucky

Quiet Jungle and Forever Red, both nominated to the Fury and both prospects for the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, breezed six furlongs in 1:16 at Keeneland on Friday morning.

Both Quiet Jungle and Forever Red, neither of whom started at 2, are maidens owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad.

Quiet Jungle has seen action twice, missing by a nose in a one-mile maiden special at Fair Grounds and finishing a rallying fourth against winners in a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland.

Forever Red also has just two outings under her belt, having finished a closing third in a maiden special at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Fair Grounds and a close sixth in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special at Keeneland.