07/28/2009 11:00PM

Attfield trio sharpens for stakes

Michael Burns
Not Bourbon is scheduled to make his first start of the season in next Wednesday's Shepperton.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - With the turf training course session canceled due to the ongoing rains, Woodbine's main track was a busier place than usual for a Wednesday morning.

The most prominent names on the work tab included Not Bourbon, Sand Cove, and Sligovitiz, all of whom breezed in preparation for upcoming stakes engagements for trainer Roger Attfield.

Not Bourbon, with his regular rider Jono Jones in the irons, was clocked in 1:00.60 for five furlongs.

"He's good," said Jones. "It's been a long time since he's run. I'm looking forward to getting back on the road with him."

Not Bourbon, whose last start was a winning effort in the seven-furlong Overskate here last Sept. 20, is slated to make his seasonal bow in Wednesday's $125,000 Shepperton, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward.

Sand Cove, who went four furlongs in 49.20 seconds under regular rider Richard Dos Ramos, is pointing for the Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward here Aug. 29.

In his return from a seven-month layoff here July 18, Sand Cove pressed or set the pace before being beaten a pair of necks as the third-place finisher in the Ontario Jockey Club over seven furlongs of turf.

"I thought he ran great off the long layoff," said Attfield. "He didn't actually run the style of racing he likes to do, and he was giving away weight."

Sligovitz, who prepped five furlongs in 1:00.60 while going in company under Chantal Sutherland, is scheduled to make his next start in the $100,000 With Approval here Aug. 9.

The With Approval, at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, is an overnight stakes and would require a field of at least five to be carded.

Midnight Mischief may try dirt at Saratoga

Midnight Mischief, a 3-year-old colt who is held in high regard by Attfield, also worked here Wednesday, breezing four furlongs in 49.40 with Jones aboard.

"I love him," said Attfield. "He's quite a serious horse, I think."

Midnight Mischief, a Kentucky-bred, won his maiden in impressive fashion over a mile and 70 yards here May 29 and doubled up in a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on July 18.

"I'd like to take him to Saratoga, and see how he goes on dirt," said Attfield, who plans to work Midnight Mischief on the dirt training track here to gauge his prospects for the proposed trip.

Attfield has pair for Lake George

Attfield will be at Saratoga on Friday to send out Lady Shakespeare and Miss Keller for the Grade 2, $150,000 Lake George, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Lady Shakespeare has won her last two starts here and blew out three furlongs in 37.00 Wednesday morning.

Miss Keller, who has been campaigning in Ireland and was purchased by Three Chimneys Racing, will be making her first start for Attfield and will be returning with him to Woodbine following the Lake George.

On Monday, Attfield will be back at Woodbine to saddle Palladio for the Grade 3, $150,000 Seagram Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Palladio, a 7-year-old horse, has not seen action since he finished last of 12 in the 1 1/8- mile Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream on Jan. 24.

"He hurt himself a little bit," said Attfield. "He's ready to go now; he's been training very well of late."

Palladio will be making his third consecutive appearance in the Seagram Cup, having finished second in 2007 and third last year.

Other leading contenders for the Seagram Cup include Approval Rating, Ice Bear, and Ready's Echo, who is slated to ship in from New York.

Ready's Echo, trained by Todd Pletcher, was beaten by 4 1/4 lengths last time out when fifth Belmont's Grade 2, 1 1/4-mile Suburban.

Patrick Husbands has the call on Ready's Echo for the Seagram Cup.

Rice ships in Canadian Ballet

Husbands also will ride Canadian Ballet, the lone invader for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North, a six-furlong turf race for fillies and mares.

Canadian Ballet, trained by Linda Rice, is coming off a neck score in Belmont's Lottsa Talc, a seven-furlong overnight turf stakes for New York-breds on July 11.

Rice has won with four of her 14 previous starters in Canada, including two stakes.

Shippers have won five of the last nine runnings of the Royal North.

The Boy's Ring done for the year

The Boy's Ring, who finished seventh as the favorite in the July 15 Deputy Minister, has undergone surgery to remove a small chip from his knee and will not see action again this season.

"He could have come back here in six weeks, but I'll just give him the rest of the year and bring him back in as a 4-year-old," said Paul Buttigieg, who is the owner, trainer, and breeder of the 3-year-old gelding.

Two local horses in West Virginia Derby

Eurico Rosa da Silva and Jim McAleney will be at Mountaineer Racetrack on Saturday to ride Woodbine-based horses in the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby.

Da Silva will be aboard Monty's Best for trainer Reade Baker while McAleney has the call on Awesome Rhythm for John Ross in the 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby, in which a field of six is headed by Mine That Bird.

Memorial for longtime gate crew worker

A reception will be held from 10 a.m. to noon here Friday in memory of Rudy Kehlbrier, who died last week at age 66 following a long battle with cancer.

The gathering will take place in the lounge area of the fourth-floor Woodbine Club.

Kehlbrier had worked at Woodbine for the past 40 years and was a member of the gate crew from 1981 through 2008.