05/19/2009 11:00PM

Attfield preps three for stakes

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Michael Burns
Active Duty works five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Woodbine Wednesday for the Plate Trial.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The training track turf course was open for business for the first time this season on Wednesday morning and trainer Roger Attfield, as usual, was one of the best customers. Attfield, whose barn is located adjacent to the dirt and turf training tracks here, sent out eight horses over the seven-furlong grass strip, including three who should be seeing stakes action here this weekend.

Spice Route was not given a time for his move under exercise rider Suzanne Lorimer. He has been entered in Saturday's Louisville Handicap, a Grade 3 turf race over 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs. Russian Rosie, who breezed four furlongs in 48.40 under jockey Jim McAleney, has been entered for the Gradeo2 Sheepshead Bay, a 1 3/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares at Belmont on Saturday. And Society's Chairman, under jockey Robert Landry, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 and is headed for Sunday's Grade 3 Connaught Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race that is the first turf stakes of the meeting here.

Callwood Dancer, last year's champion turf female, also was among Attfield's Wednesday workers. With rider Eurico Rosa da Silva in the irons, Callwood Dancer breezed six furlongs in 1:15.20 in preparation for the Grade 2 Nassau, a 1 1/16-mile turf race here for fillies and mares on May 30.

Familiar turf racing schedule

The turf racing program, which got under way last weekend, will follow a similar blueprint to that of previous seasons, said Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary and a director of racing.

Starting in June, Lym plans to offer two turf races on Wednesday evenings and then one on Thursdays, two on Fridays, and three on Saturdays and Sundays. Depending on the condition of the course, holiday Mondays will feature two or three turf races.

Active Duty ready for next step

Active Duty worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on the main track Wednesday and is scheduled to make his next start in the $150,000 Plate Trial over 1 1/8 miles here May 31.

"It was a good move," said Mark Casse, who trains Active Duty for Woodford Racing LLC. "He galloped out really strong, and the track was dead."

Corey Fraser was aboard Active Duty for Wednesday's drill and has the call for both the Plate Trial and Queen's Plate. Fraser rode the gelding to his only win in seven career starts, that coming in the 1 1/8 mile Coronation Futurity here last fall. After a two-race winter stint in California, where he was ridden by Patrick Husbands, Active Duty had Fraser back in the irons when he finished third in the seven-furlong Queenston here May 2.

"I thought it was an okay race," said Casse. "The pace was slow, and they kind of sprinted away from him.

"I wasn't really expecting a whole lot more; I just wanted to get a race into him. It wasn't that I wouldn't have liked to win but I'm wanting to win the Queen's Plate with him, and this was a stepping-stone."

Field Commission no shock to trainer

The wagering public might have thought otherwise but trainer Danny Vella didn't see it as a major upset when Field Commission rallied to take Monday's Grade 3, $165,900 Vigil at 22-1.

"Personally, I think he was the best horse in his last two races," said Vella, who also owns Field Commission with Ed Seltzer.

Field Commission, an Ontario-bred 4-year-old colt, wound up his first campaign here last November with a closing fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Kennedy Road at six furlongs. Returning to action in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier on April 25, Field Commission was prominent throughout and was beaten just a half-length while ending third.

"In his last race last year he had a real wide trip," said Vella. "First time out this year, he was just a little too racy for his own good. This time, he settled nice with a race under his belt. Everything was perfect."

Regular rider Tyler Pizarro was recording his second stakes win of the meeting aboard Field Commission, who was notching his first stakes victory. With the July 19 Bold Venture being the next main-track sprint stakes for the older male division, Vella may explore other options for Field Commission.

"I'll maybe look at running him long, or maybe try turf," said Vella. "The only time we ran him two turns, things just didn't work out right. Eventually, we'll have to try it again."

Field Commission dueled for the lead and faltered to finish third at 1 1/16 miles here last June in his third start.

Vella said he isn't sure what the next race will be for Verdana Bold, who finished seventh when opening up her 2009 campaign in the 6o1/2-furlong Hendrie on May 10.

"She came out of it great," said Vella. "She was just too racy, and maybe got a tad tired."

A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old filly, Verdana Bold won the six-furlong Star Shoot and the 1o1/16-mile Selene last year.

* A celebration of the life of the late Wally Wood will be held beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the fourth-floor Munnings Room in the Woodbine Club. Wood, who for 26 years was the Woodbine columnist for Daily Racing Form, died this March at age 76. Wood's daughters Julia, Kimberley and Kristen will be on hand to meet with their father's friends and colleagues.