09/16/2010 12:44PM

Attfield has five horses for four graded stakes

Photos by Z/Keeneland
Spice Route (above) and Perfect Shower are trainer Roger Attfield's representatives in the Northern Dancer.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Roger Attfield will not have an entrant in Sunday’s Woodbine Mile. But that will be the only local stakes dance which will take place without an Attfield presence this weekend.

On Sunday, Attfield has entered Spice Route and Perfect Shower in the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, and Miss Keller in the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

On Saturday, Attfield has Stormy Rush in the $250,000 Summer and Sheba’s Secret in the $200,000 Natalma.

Both the Summer and Natalma are Grade 3 races for 2-year-olds, with the Natalma restricted to fillies, and will be run over one mile of turf. Both also are part of the Breeders’ Cup’s Win and You’re In program.

Spice Route, a 6-year-old horse who had been off for more than six months after finishing second in Calder’s Grade 2 W.L. McKnight Handicap, returned here in winning form when he captured the Grade 3 Singspiel over the same 1 1/2-mile distance on July 4.

Slated to run back in the Grade 2 Nijinsky over 1 1/4 miles here Aug. 22, Spice Route was scratched due to the soft conditions.

“I’d rather have had that last race but he’s been doing unbelievably well, all summer,” said Attfield.

Mike Smith, who rode Spice Route for the first time in the Singspiel, will be back for the Northern Dancer and also has picked up the mount on local longshot Auteur for the Woodbine Mile.

Perfect Shower also will run for Attfield in the Northern Dancer after being supplemented at a cost of $15,000.

Bred in Ontario by his owner, Charles Fipke, Perfect Shower is coming off a fourth-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Stars N Stripes over 1 5/8 miles of good turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 21.

Perfect Shower enjoyed his finest hour here as the 45-1 winner of last year’s Breeders’ Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Attfield had nominated Ave, Mekong Melody, and Miss Keller to the Canadian but will be relying on Miss Keller to bring home the bacon.

Miss Keller, a 4-year-old who was bred in Ireland and was purchased last year by Three Chimneys LLC, is coming off a closing third-place finish in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Saratoga.

“She ran a huge race,” said Attfield.

Miss Keller has run just once at Woodbine this year, finishing second in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes over one mile.

Javier Castellano, who has ridden Miss Keller in her four other starts this year, including victories in a second-level allowance at Keeneland and Saratoga’s De La Rose, will be back in the irons for the Canadian.

Meanwhile, Ave has been invited to Belmont’s Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares on Oct. 2.

Mekong Melody is scheduled to make her next appearance here in the Sept. 26 Flaming Page, a 1 1/2-mile overnight turf stakes which she won last year.

Stormy Rush, a Kentucky-bred colt who was purchased for $210,000 in Ocala, Fla., this March, has been perfect in two career starts for owners Bob Harvey, Gordon Ledson, and Al Wortzman.

After opening with a 4 3/4-length victory over six furlongs of turf here July 17, Stormy Rush returned four weeks later under rider Jono Jones for a three-length score over six furlongs on Polytrack.

“He won them both nicely,” said Attfield. “And I would think, with the way he trains and the way he’s run, that the mile would be fine for him. He’s a very relaxed horse.”

Sheba’s Secret is winless in two starts but is coming off a second-place finish behind Natalma favorite Roxy Gap in the one-mile turf allowance prep for the stakes.

A homebred owned by Fipke, the Kentucky-bred Sheba’s Secret will be sporting a new rider in Chantal Sutherland and racing with blinkers on for the Natalma.

“I figure they’ll make her a little more focused, which she is going to have to be,” said Attfield.

No Explaining headed to Garden City

The Attfield stable also will be represented at Belmont on Saturday with No Explaining slated to ship out for the Grade 1, $250,000 Garden City at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

No Explaining, who races for the Harlequin Ranches of Dick Bonnycastle, finished in a dead heat for third here last time out in the Ontario Colleen over one mile of turf.

The Garden City, like the Ontario Colleen, is for 3-year-old fillies. John Velazquez has picked up the mount on No Explaining.

Special broadcast of two Sunday stakes

The Woodbine television department and TVG will be teaming up for a broadcast which includes the Woodbine Mile and the Northern Dancer.

TVG’s Todd Schrupp will join Woodbine analyst Jim Bannon on the desk and Simon Bray and Sandy Hawley will be a roving reporters.

Woodbine’s Chad Rozema will be the main host and Renee Kierans will be conducting horseback interviews of the Woodbine Mile and Northern Dancer winners immediately after the races.

The two-hour broadcast, which will begin at 4 p.m., will air nationally on The Score.

The Northern Dancer will go as the eighth race, with post time scheduled for 4:34 p.m., and the Woodbine Mile as the 10th race at 5:42 p.m.

Lucky bettors get to shoot for $25,000

The ninth race, which also will be part of the broadcast, will mark the launch of the launch of the “HBPA $25,000 Free Bet Contest.”

Four names will be drawn from a drum at a party on the track apron hosted by radio station Q107 and each contestant will receive $2,500 to bet on the ninth race.

The process will be repeated on the Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 cards and the top four earners amongst the 12 players will return for a grand finale on Oct. 10.

The contestants in the final again will be given $2,500 to bet on a race and the winner will bag the grand prize of $25,000.