06/11/2002 11:00PM

Attfield may have Plate horse


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Roger Attfield sent out his seventh Queen's Plate winner in 1995, when Regal Discovery found the quickest route home for No. 1 Stable.

That Plate success also was the trainer's sixth in nine years. He saddled his first Plate winner, Norcliffe, in 1976.

But Attfield's quest for his eighth Plate, which would equal the record held by trainer Harry Giddings Jr., has been relatively quiet in recent years.

His only Plate starters since Regal Discovery were the fillies Pinafore Park and Primaly, who finished fifth and 10th, respectively, in 1998, and For Our Sake, who ran third in 2000.

And while it was beginning to look like Attfield would be a spectator at the Plate again this year, Twice Bid appears to have played his way into the picture.

Twice Bid worked a mile on Woodbine's fast main track on a mild and showery Wednesday morning, finishing in 1:42.

"The track was a little bit patchy and greasy," said Attfield, "but he went through it pretty well. I thought it was a pretty comfortable piece of work."

In his most recent race, Twice Bid finished second, beaten a half-length by Kentucky-bred Tepu Sultan, at 1 1/8 miles.

Twice Bid carried 117 pounds in that race, which was timed in 1:53.34. Later on the card Shaws Creek won the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, in which all contestants carried 126 pounds, in 1:52.38.

"The bottom line is he was carrying nine pounds less than the horses in the Trial, and ran a second slower," said Attfield. "That's not a great race to go into the Plate.

"But, I do think he's a genuine mile-and-a-quarter horse. We'll see how he trains on, and analyze the situation."

'Dancer' on target for Dominion Day

Attfield had quite a scare here last Sunday following A Fleets Dancer's third-place finish under jockey Robert Landry in a 1 1/16-mile classified allowance that was the prep for the July 1 Dominion Day.

"He took a really funny step just past the wire," said Attfield, "and Robert pulled him up. But he's fine."

A Fleets Dancer was Canada's champion older horse last year and will be looking to repeat in the $200,000 Dominion Day, a Grade 3, 1 1/4-mile race.

Later on Sunday's program, Extend became Attfield's first stakes winner of the meeting in the $179,874 Ontario Matron.

Two options for Sweetest Thing

Sweetest Thing, the other champion in the Attfield stable, could be heading back to Belmont for the July 4 New York Handicap but may stay home for the July 6 Dance Smartly.

The $250,000 New York is a Grade 2 at 1 1/4 miles and the $150,000 Dance Smartly a Grade 3 at 1 1/8 miles. Both are turf races for fillies and mares.

Shaws Creek sharpens for Plate

Shaws Creek, who will be one of the favorites for the Plate, had his final major tune-up Wednesday, working seven furlongs in 1:27.60.

"I was worried about the rain," said John Ross, who trains Shaws Creek for the Jam Jar Racing Stable of Bud and Jackie Reynolds. "But now I've got my workout out of the way, and he came back to the barn walking good, and happy. The stage is set."

Classic Case prefers turf

Classic Case, the sixth-place finisher in the Trial, also will be running on Plate Day but not in the main event.

"He's in the Charlie Barley, all being well," said Greg De Gannes, an assistant to trainer Mark Casse.

The Charlie Barley, an open one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, offers a purse of $100,000. Classic Case became a stakes winner over a mile of turf at Tampa Bay Downs this spring, in the Budweiser Challenger.

"He's a better turf horse than he is a dirt horse," said De Gannes, "but we had to give him a fair shot. His long-term goal is to join the Triple Crown trail at some point, but not in the Plate."

The $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, which is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, will be run over 1 1/2 miles of turf here Aug. 10.