08/15/2001 12:00AM

From Barbados, with high hopes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Blast of Storm, who has been knocking them dead in Barbados, is looking to transfer his act to the larger stage of Woodbine.

A 5-year-old owned by Sally Arbib, Blast of Storm arrived from Miami Wednesday morning along with his groom, Michael Lopez. The horse had spent a week in quarantine in Florida before the flight north.

Trainer Bill Marshall, who arrived Tuesday evening along with his wife, Pam, will oversee Blast of Storm's preparations for the $300,000 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap, a Grade 2, 1 1/2-mile turf race Sept. 1.

Marshall also nominated Blast of Storm to both the Grade 1 Atto Mile, a $1 million turf race Sept. 9, and the Grade 1 Canadian International, a $1.5 million turf race here Sept. 30. A good performance in the Niagara could earn Blast of Storm a berth in the International, which goes at the same 1 1/2-mile distance.

Blast of Storm, bred in Ireland, was unraced at 2 but made three starts in his homeland as a 3-year-old, winning at first asking before being purchased privately by Sally Arbib.

Sent to Barbados and Marshall, the horse has gone on to win eight of 14 outings, including the last two editions of the Sandy Lane Gold Cup. His jockey on both occasions was Jono Jones, who moved his tack to Woodbine this spring and will be reunited with Blast of Storm in the Niagara.

Marshall, who celebrated his 83rd birthday Tuesday, spent 50 years on the racetrack in England before moving to Barbados, where he has been leading trainer on numerous occasions. Blast of Storm will be his first starter in North America.

Marshall initially had hoped to sent Blast of Storm to the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot June 23, but the lingering hoof-and-mouth disease scare complicated the travel arrangements and the focus shifted to Woodbine.

Blast of Storm has started once at his home track since the March 3 Gold Cup, finishing fourth over a mile of turf June 30.

"We had let him get a good holiday," said Marshall. "That was just to get him ready to come up here."

Despite his obvious respect for Blast of Storm, Marshall is reluctant to predict where the horse will fit in the local hierarchy. One point of reference could be Incitatus, the Barbadian-bred who won the Sandy Lane Gold Cup in 1997 and later won a pair of Grade 2 stakes after becoming a regular campaigner at Woodbine.

"He's got good form," said Marshall of Blast of Storm, "but it's very difficult to tell."

Blast of Storm also comes with an interesting pedigree. His sire, Perugino, is a three-quarter brother to European superstallion Sadler's Wells. Both are out of the mare Fairy Bridge, with Perugino sired by Danzig and Sadler's Wells by Danzig's sire, Northern Dancer.

* Sally Arbib is the wife of Martyn Arbib, who owned Snurge, winner of the 1992 Rothmans (now Canadian) International via a disqualification.

Sporting Ladder, a month away

Martyn Arbib has Sporting Ladder, a Kentucky 4-year-old filly by Danzig out of the Alydar mare Lydara, in training with Roger Attfield here at Woodbine.

Sporting Ladder has raced six times in England, winning twice over the all-weather track at Southall. Those successes, both over seven furlongs, came in her last two starts, on March 26 and April 4.

Attfield, who sent out Sporting Ladder to work three furlongs in 36.40 seconds over the training track here Tuesday, said the filly is about a month away from the races.

One Way Love's future in doubt

One Way Love, who was Canada's champion sprinter and older horse last year for owners Bruno Schickedanz and John Hillier, had been scheduled to make his seasonal bow here in Saturday's featured Shepperton Stakes.

But the 6-year-old horse, who is trained by Abraham Katryan will not be in the lineup and his racing future is in doubt.

"He's still nursing an old suspensory injury," said Katryan. "I stopped on him two days ago.'

Krz Ruckus, who would have been the horse to beat regardless of One Way Love's presence, will break from the outside post as the 126-pound highweight in a field of seven for the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton.

Opposing the probable choice will be the invaders Trailthefox and Fun to Run, the entry of Hopeful Moment and Dougs Legacy, and longshots Casino Prince and Tobias.

Somsanith appeals

Jockey Na Somsanith has appealed a five-day suspension that was to run Wednesday through Aug. 19.

The stewards had ruled Somsanith had come in with his mount, Bucquista, and interfered with Southern Heat during the fourth race here last Friday. Bucquista finished first but was disqualified and placed fifth.

Emile Ramsammy has appealed a three-day suspension that was to run Thursday through Saturday. The stewards had ruled that Ramsammy came in with his mount, Octahedron, in last Saturday's first race and interfered with Pretty You.

Octahedron finished third but was disqualified and placed fifth.