05/23/2007 12:00AM

Arravale's return delayed by injury


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Arravale, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year and champion turf female, has hit a bump on the road en route to her first start of the season.

"We had a little bit of a setback," said Mac Benson, who trains Arravale for Bob Costigan here at Woodbine. "She popped a splint."

Arravale, a Kentucky-bred, had been slated to make her first start of 2007 here June 2 in the Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau, a 1o1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

All being well, the Nassau would have served as Arravale's stepping-stone to the Grade 2, $1 million CashCall Mile, a turf race for fillies and mares at Hollywood Park on July 6.

"We won't make any judgment calls until she comes out of this," said Benson. "But, she's very doubtful for Hollywood. Without getting a race into her, it would be ridiculous to try and go."

Dominion Day next for Palladio

Palladio, the Sovereign Award-winning 3-year-old male in 2005, recaptured his championship form here Monday with a convincing victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Eclipse.

A Florida-bred trained by Roger Attfield, Palladio set a track record of 1:43.07 for the 1 1/16 miles and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

Palladio was making his fourth start of the season in the Eclipse and was coming off a close sixth-place finish in Keeneland's Ben Ali.

"I was disappointed that day," said Attfield. "We went into the Ben Ali with a lot of confidence. But he got the right trip this time, and the right ride."

Palladio was ridden by Richard Dos Ramos, who has been aboard for five of the horse's six victories.

"They get along well together," said Attfield, adding that Palladio should make his next start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Dominion Day at 1o1/4 miles here July 1.

Hopes still high for Include Us

Attfield has not ruled out a Queen's Plate appearance for Include Us, a maiden who was beaten four lengths as the fifth-place finisher in last Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Marine.

"I thought if he'd run the race a little differently he would have been closer," said Attfield. "First he was up there, then he dropped back to last, then he came again to be fifth."

Include Us, a Manitoba-bred whom Attfield owns in partnership with Bill Werner and Mickey Canino, is nominated to the Plate Trial, a $150,000 race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here June 3.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1o1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run June 24.

"I'll probably run him in the Trial, and see whether we get to the next jump or go back to a maiden race," said Attfield. "I think there are some positive signs for him, and the farther he goes the better he'll be."

Boldly Seductive set for Lady Angela

Boldly Seductive, owned by the same partnership as Include Us, will represent the Attfield stable in Saturday's $125,000 Lady Angela, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

"She's got a lot of ability, and she's doing very well," said Attfield, who sent out Boldly Seductive to win an Ontario-sired first-level allowance over seven furlongs in her last start here May 5.

"She's just a little bit on the nervous side," he said. "It's just a question of her being able to control her prerace nerves."

Shillelagh Slew may need longer

Shillelagh Slew, last year's Canadian 3-year-old male champion, finished fourth for the second time in as many starts this season under regular rider Dino Luciani in the Eclipse.

"It was a little disappointing, but the pace was awfully slow again and they sprinted home," said DePaulo. "I'm not making excuses. I told my jock to save ground, and he did. It's very possible my horse might be at his best going a little farther."

The Dominion Day is the next major target for Shillelagh Slew.

DePaulo also has a starter for the Lady Angela in Grandy's Glory.

Grandy's Glory began her current campaign with a front-running win in a second-level allowance, then finished fourth after dueling throughout most of the Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

"It was a tough race, and maybe she bounced a little," said DePaulo. "But, her form looks sort of suspect past six furlongs. We'll have to change her tactics a little bit, or she'll be in trouble."

'Essai' attempts comeback

The turf training course was open for the first time this season on Wednesday, and 29 horses were clocked over the firm going.

The most prominent name on the work tab was Le Cinquieme Essai, who breezed an easy four furlongs in 52 seconds

An 8-year-old gelding who is trained by Paul Nielsen, Le Cinquieme Essai sustained a season-ending tear in a suspensory ligament while he was prepping for the Woodbine Mile late last summer.

Wednesday's work was the first of the season here for Le Cinquieme Essai, who had wintered with Nielsen at Payson Park.

"He breezed once at Payson Park, and his suspensory flared up a little bit, so we had to back off him," said Nielsen. "The track was very deep down there this winter. But, he's back on form now."

Nielsen is hoping Le Cinquieme Essai will be back racing by late July.

New starter hired

Drew Brown, longtime starter at Fort Erie, and his assistant Buck Fierheller will now fill those roles at Woodbine.

Brown replaces Shane St. Pierre. There was no assistant starter here previously.

Woodbine racing officials would not comment on the change.