08/01/2004 11:00PM

A Bit O'Gold gets acclimated to turf

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A Bit O'Gold, winner of the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 18, had his first taste of turf here Monday morning, when the E.P. Taylor course opened for a special session in advance of Sunday's Breeders' Stakes.

The $500,000 Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, following the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate and the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales, both main-track events.

Niigon, winner of the Queen's Plate and second in the Prince of Wales, was not nominated to the Breeders' and is bound for Sunday's Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

A Bit O'Gold, with regular rider Jono Jones in the irons, breezed five furlongs in 1:04.60 while going head and head with stablemate Tempered Steel, a 4-year-old who is 2 for 2 on turf.

"He worked like he loved it," said Jones. "He's going to be tough."

The course was rated good, and the dogs were out past the middle of the track, making it difficult to evaluate workout times.

Trained by Catherine Day Phillips, A Bit O'Gold could have up to a dozen rivals in a Breeders' line-up that will remain in flux until entries are taken Friday morning.

Horses can supplement to the Breeders' on entry day at a cost of $15,000, and Lord Carmen is already on the grounds with an eye toward doing just that.

Lord Carmen, owned by Frank Calabrese, has been based at Arlington but was sent here to Josie Carroll last week with the Breeders' in mind.

In his last start, which was his first on the grass, Lord Carmen was a rallying winner of a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

Lord Carmen also prepped on the turf here Monday, going six furlongs in 1:18 under Emile Ramsammy, who would have the mount Sunday.

"He worked very nicely," said Carroll. "The main thing was he was very comfortable and finished well."

His Smoothness and Witness This also worked six furlongs on the turf Monday, with His Smoothness clocked in 1:14.80 under exercise rider Emma-Jayne Wilson and Witness This in 1:18.80 under jockey Dino Luciani.

His Smoothness, trained by Jim Day, finished fifth in the Queen's Plate and third in the Prince of Wales and was well back on both occasions.

Witness This, conditioned by Mark Casse, heads into the Breeders' off a fourth-place finish here in the June 27 Charlie Barley over one mile of turf.

Silver Ticket works

Silver Ticket, winner of the Toronto Cup over 1 1/8 miles of turf here July 17, had his major Breeders' tune-up on the fast main track here Saturday, breezing five furlongs in 59.40 under exercise rider Hugh Chatman.

"A lot of turf horses can work well on dirt, and I didn't like to change up the program too much," said Mark Frostad, who trains Silver Ticket for Sam-Son Farm.

Frostad and Sam-Son also plan to start Burst of Fire, Rainbows for Luck, and Hunt the Rainbow in the Breeders'.

Burst of Fire, under jockey Todd Kabel, and Rainbows for Luck, under Slade Callaghan, galloped together on the turf here Monday.

"They just went head and head together, a nice easy three-quarters," said Kabel, who is scheduled to ride Silver Ticket.