09/01/2009 11:00PM

Barbadian colt to give Mile a shot


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Daylight Express, who has been knocking them dead in Barbados, checked in last weekend with an eye toward the Sept. 20 Woodbine Mile.

A Virginia-bred 4-year-old colt who is owned by Lord Michael Taylor and trained by Robert Peirce, Daylight Express has won four of his five races over the Garrison Savannah turf course this year, with the latest a 3 1/2-length romp over about one mile under his regular rider, Andy Ward.

The streak began in the Barbados Gold Cup, one of the country's most prestigious races, on March 7.

"He's been winning his races so, so easily," said Peirce, who is overseeing Daylight Express's preparation here along with Ward and groom Ivan Greenidge. "When he swings for home he's 10 to 12 lengths in front, looking around and pulling up."

Pierce, 35, has roots that go deep in Barbados racing, as his father, T.A. Peirce, and grandfather, T.N. Peirce, were both high-ranking administrators in the Barbados Turf Club

"I've been around racing all my life," said Peirce, who grew up next door to the farm of famed Barbadian jockey and trainer Challenor Jones, father of Woodbine-based rider Jono Jones. "Jono and Patrick Husbands and I used to ride the broodmares."

Peirce himself started out as a jockey, but an injury suffered during a spill and subsequent weight gain put an end to his days in the saddle.

He then came north to Canada, where he studied radio broadcasting at Belleville's Loyalist College, and continued his education in a different field when attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

In the end, however, Peirce found himself back in the Barbados, training horses.

While he has enjoyed plenty of previous success in his current profession, Peirce has found himself on a higher plane this year after hooking up with Taylor's Clifton Racing Stable.

Peirce, Taylor, and Ward all their lead their respective standings in the Barbados this year, and Daylight Express is the top money winner in the country.

Fittingly, the race that precipitated Daylight Express's Woodbine Mile venture came in the race named after Robert Peirce's late father.

"I'd won all the big races in Barbados but that one meant the most to me," said Peirce, who had watched Daylight Express finish in a track-record-equaling 1:33.20 in capturing the about-one-mile T.A. Peirce Memorial Trophy on Aug. 8.

While Peirce characterized the going that day as "hard," he believes Daylight Express will adapt to whatever conditions may be in effect on Woodbine Mile Day.

"I'm very confident he'll run on any kind of going," said Peirce.

What the trainer would appreciate for Daylight Express however, would be some solid early fractions.

"He's a stalker. He can sit anywhere between second and fourth," said Peirce. "He needs a fast pace."

Career opportunity for jockey

While Peirce is participating in racing outside the Caribbean for the first time his jockey, Ward, is no stranger to Canada.

Ward, 40, rode at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg from 1999 through 2003 and at Hastings in Vancouver from 2005 through 2007.

Although Ward is a three-time winner of the Barbados Gold Cup, the opportunity to ride in the Woodbine Mile will be the high-water mark of his career.

"I'm more excited than I can ever explain," said Ward.

Traveling companion no slouch

Accompanying Daylight Express on his trip north, which included a quarantine stopover in New York, was stablemate Peaceful Envoy.

A 3-year-old colt who was bred in Florida, Peaceful Envoy has been on a tear of his own this year with victories in his last four starts.

Peirce will be looking for an open allowance race for Peaceful Envoy here.

"He's been winning his races very easily," said Peirce. "He has a turn of foot that's out of this world. He can be sitting fourth, until two furlongs out, and in a couple of strides he's in front."

Attfield troops spread wide

While Roger Attfield has not finalized his own travel plans, his horses will be active on three different stakes fronts over the long weekend.

On Saturday, Palladio will run at Arlington Park in the Grade 3, $300,000 Washington Park Handicap, a 1 3/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.

Palladio, who was to leave Thursday morning, breezed four furlongs in 47.40 seconds under his regular rider, Richard Dos Ramos.

On Sunday, Midnight Mischief will represent Attfield in the Grade 2, $350,000 Del Mar Derby, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. Mike Smith will pick up the mount.

Midnight Mischief is in California with exercise rider Suzanne Lorimer after vanning from here to Louisville, flying to Los Angeles, and then vanning to Del Mar.

On Monday, Attfield will have entrants for two of the six $125,000 yearling sales stakes here at Woodbine.

Sand Cove and Society's Chairman could be cross-entered in both the Elgin, a 1 1/16-mile race for colts and geldings, and the Halton, a one-mile turf race.

Sand Cove, a 4-year-old colt owned by Ralph Johnson, was a $60,000 buy at the local select yearling sale here in 2006.

Society's Chairman, a 6-year-old horse who races for Charles Fipke and George Waud, went through the ring at the 2004 sale and sold for $40,000, with Attfield listed as the purchaser.

Perfect Shower likely staying home

Attfield had hoped to run Perfect Shower in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Saranac at Saratoga but that trip now is very much in doubt.

"He had a temperature," said Attfield, who had sent out Perfect Shower to register a major upset in the Breeders' over 1 1/2 miles on turf here Aug. 2. "It seems like he's okay now, but it's probably a little premature to do something like that."

Woodbine still should a rooting interest in the Saranac, however, as Reservoir is scheduled to make the trip for trainer Julia Carey.

Reservoir finished third, beaten three lengths, in the Breeders' while making just his fourth career start and his first since finishing 11th in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate here June 21.

"There's nothing suitable here for him," said Carey, who will be saddling his first Saratoga entrant. "He's very good right now. It's just a matter of whether he's good enough."