05/02/2006 12:00AM

Attfield stable undergoes makeover

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Honolua Storm is one of several name horses gone this year from trainer Roger Attfield's barn. Four of his good ones recently were sold.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Roger Attfield's stable was quiet at Gulfstream this year but it started making noise at Keeneland last week. Now the Attfield troops are marshaled here at Woodbine, where he has a full complement of 45 stalls.

Several familiar names will be missing from the Attfield roster this year, however, as Honolua Storm, Langburg, Mr. J.T.L., and Orsay all were sold privately.

"My 3-year-old division looks fairly weak this year, but I have a lot of 2-year-olds," said Attfield. "I just felt I needed to sell horses that still have some value and have done well enough for me.

"It was the right business move while I wait for my 2-year-olds."

Honolua Storm, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old gelding, was supposed to be Attfield's first Woodbine starter this year, nominated to last Saturday's Vigil Stakes.

"I had the van booked," said Attfield, who wound up selling Honolua Storm and sending him out to finish in a dead heat for second in a turf allowance at Keeneland last Wednesday.

Attfield said Honolua Storm's new owner expressed an interest in eventually trying Honolua Storm as a steeplechaser.

Langburg, Mr. J.T.L., and Orsay were sold as immediate jumping prospects and Langburg already has started twice over hurdles, winning his maiden on April 15 and then falling in a race last Saturday.

In the meantime, the horses that had Attfield happy last week were Pellegrino and Noble Stella, both of whom won stakes at Keeneland for owner Gary Tanaka.

Pellegrino, a Brazilian-bred 7-year-old horse, was making his first start for Attfield and his first since last Dec. 17 in Friday's Grade 3 Elkhorn over 1 1/2 miles of turf.

Although he had won the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2004, Pellegrino had failed to finish in the top three in seven subsequent starts and was transferred to Attfield after finishing ninth in Calder's W.L. McKnight.

"He hadn't run that well the last couple of years, but he'd run against some pretty nice horses," said Attfield.

"Mr. Tanaka asked me to take him, freshen him up, and see if I could get him back to his old form. Payson Park is an excellent place for that; it has a forgiving racetrack. I just played around with him, then took him to Keeneland."

Attfield said that training on Polytrack, which is being installed at Woodbine this summer, was a key to Pellegrino's revitalization.

"Grass horses all train exceptionally well over it," said Attfield. "And arthritic horses, horses with foot problems, those kind of horses love Polytrack."

Pellegrino, who has done his best running over 1 1/2 miles of turf, has some enticing targets here at that distance, beginning with the new Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf, a $700,000 race on July 23. The $300,000 Nijinsky on Aug. 27 and the $2 million Canadian International on Oct. 22 also require a full circuit of the 1 1/2-mile E.P. Taylor turf course.

Noble Stella, a German-bred 5-year-old mare who won the Grade 3 Bewitch at 1 1/2 miles on turf last Wednesday, also favors that distance. Noble Stella romped in last year's Flaming Page, the only stakes at the distance for fillies and mares here.

"But I did win at a mile and an eighth here with her last year, and that's still a possibility," Attfield said.

Noble Stella's success over 1 1/8 miles of turf came in the Dance Smartly at Woodbine last summer. This year, the Grade 2, $300,000 Dance Smartly will be held on July 15.

Edenwold works fast for Queenston

Edenwold, Canada's champion 2-year-old male last year, worked four furlongs in a quick 46.20 seconds on a fast main track Tuesday and is slated to make his 2006 debut in Saturday's $150,000 Queenston for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.

Emile Ramsammy, who will ride Edenwold for the first time in the seven-furlong Queenston, was aboard for the drill, which was the fastest of 20 and more than two seconds quicker than the second-fastest workout at the distance.

"I wanted to get a sharp half-mile into him," said Josie Carroll, who trains Edenwold for Jim and Alice Sapara. "He's usually not a big work horse.

"I told Emile to snap him away from the pole. He was in behind horses and when the dirt started coming back at him he got aggressive and went a little stronger than I planned.

"But, he came out of it good."

Vibank, also owned by the Saparas and trained by Carroll, is Queenston-bound and will have regular rider David Clark in the irons.

Vibank finished second in his local season debut, the six-furlong Woodstock on April 22.

Gumboots likely favorite in Fury

Carroll also will be in the spotlight on Sunday when she sends out Gumboots, the probable favorite for the $150,000 Fury.

Clark will ride Gumboots for the first time in the Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

Patrick Husbands was aboard Gumboots for her first four starts, including a successful seasonal bow in a five-furlong allowance prep race for the Star Shoot.

Husbands had planned to ride Gumboots in the April 23 Star Shoot and accepted a call on Half Sister, a promising maiden trained by Mike Keogh, for the Fury. But the Star Shoot was rescheduled for April 30 because of unsafe track conditions, and Gumboots was scratched in favor of trying the Fury.