04/24/2007 11:00PM

Banach has new star


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Darwin Banach and owner-breeder Bill Sorokolit already had some serious stakes runners in the barn heading into the 2007 season, with Canadian turf champion Sky Conqueror and the stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Palace Pier among their charges.

Now Native Legend, a 3-year-old filly who was bred by Sorokolit in Kentucky, has burst onto the scene with her rallying two-length victory in Sunday's $125,000 Star Shoot here at Woodbine.

Native Legend is undefeated in three starts, all here on Polytrack under jockey Richard Dos Ramos. She debuted with a victory in a five-furlong maiden-special Nov. 11 and won a first-level allowance at the same distance April 1 before winning the six-furlong Star Shoot.

"It's always a step up into stakes competition, but she's shown us she's a professional," Banach said. "She has tons of speed, but we've taught her to relax. She can sit in behind horses. We wanted to be able to teach her how to stretch out."

The next local open 3-year-old filly race is the Grade 3 Selene, over 1 1/16 miles here May 20, and while Banach plans to nominate Native Legend he and Sorokolit will weigh other options.

"I'm not that keen on taking her from six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth," Banach said.

The Sorokolit-Banach runners were turned out for a couple of months before beginning their pre-season training at Richard Moylan's nearby Hunterview Farm.

Native Legend, Sky Conqueror and Palace Pier were among 14 horses who were shipped down to Keeneland in early February. Sky Conqueror and Palace Pier launched their campaigns at Keeneland with very encouraging efforts.

A 5-year-old horse, Sky Conqueror finished a closing fifth, beaten by just 2 1/4 lengths, in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile on April 13.

Sky Conqueror could make his next appearance at Churchill Downs May 5 - Kentucky Derby Day - in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic over 1 1/8 miles.

Palace Pier, who became a stakes winner in her last start as a 2-year-old in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie here last Dec. 2, finished third in the Grade 2 Beaumont over about seven furlongs on April 12.

Palace Pier is slated to make her next start in the $150,000 Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies here May 6.

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies on June 10, is Palace Pier's primary target.

Like Mom Like Sons pointed to Marine

Like Mom Like Sons remained undefeated in four career outings and became a stakes winner when he led throughout the six-furlong Woodstock here last Saturday.

It was the second start of the season for Like Mom Like Sons, who opened with a front-running win over older rivals in a second-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs here April 7.

"Horses like him need more than two weeks between races," said Sid Attard, who trains Like Mom Like Sons. "He runs hard."

Like Mom Like Sons is Kentucky-bred, and the next open stakes for the 3-year-old male division here is the Grade 3, $250,000 Marine at 1 1/16 miles on May 19.

In the meantime, Like Mom Like Sons has piqued the serious interest of at least one potential buyer and a sale could be imminent, said Attard.

Jiggs Coz set for 2007 debut

Attard also has a nice Canadian-bred 3-year-old colt in Jiggs Coz.

Jiggs Coz, who started three times last year and became a stakes winner in the 1 1/16-mile Display here Nov. 25, is slated to make his seasonal bow in the $125,000 Queenston, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds here May 5.

"He was training at Keeneland in January, and he's been here since February," Attard said. "He's doing very well."

Dancer's Bajan impresses in defeat

Dancer's Bajan, trained by Bob Tiller, was the lone Queen's Plate eligible in the Woodstock, and raced very well in defeat.

Dancer's Bajan won three times and finished second twice in five starts here last year, all in Ontario-sired company. Dancer's Bajan's victories included the 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie and the seven-furlong Frost King.

He was making his seasonal bow in the Woodstock after wintering in Ontario.

"I was super-thrilled with his race," Tiller said. "He's not a horse that gets real fit in the mornings; he's not a fast workhorse.

"But if we were going to dream about going in the Queen's Plate we had to get a race under the horse's belt, then go on to the Queenston and on from there."

Tiller also sent out the winners in both ends of Sunday's early daily double and sits atop the trainer standings with eight victories.

Yolie and Moment of Zen, both owned by Frank DiGiulio, ran one-two in a "B" maiden special in the opener and Spread the News, also owned by DiGiulio, captured a second-level allowance in the second.

Spread the News, another Ontario-sired 3-year-old gelding, had won 2 of 5 races, including the Clarendon Stakes, at 2 and was facing older rivals on Sunday when making his first start in more than seven months.

Spread the News ended his juvenile season with a fourth in the 6 1/2-furlong Simcoe here last Sept. 4.

"He came out of his last race with a flake in his right knee," said Tiller. "He was a talented 2-year-old, and I think he's a lot more mature this year. I was impressed with his race Sunday. He really didn't get a chance to relax."

Moore's allowance dropped

Apprentice jockey Matt Moore recorded his fourth and fifth winners last weekend and now is riding with a five-pound allowance.

Moore, 24, won Saturday's ninth race for trainer Barbara Baird with Jovial Joyce ($15.20) and notched his last win with the 10-pound apprentice allowance aboard Divine Touch ($45.40), trained by Kathryn Ranford, in Sunday's third race.

Represented by jockey agent Al Duffy, Moore began riding here last fall and registered his first win, with Arden Belle, in his third career mount.

Ramsammy at Keeneland

Jockey Emile Ramsammy will be at Keeneland on Friday to ride Last Answer in the Grade 3, $200,000 Elkhorn.

Last Answer, a 7-year-old trained by Mike Keogh, was a finalist in the Sovereign Award voting for champion male turf horse last year and will be making his seasonal bow in the Elkhorn over 1 1/2 miles of turf.