09/11/2007 11:00PM

Claimer is Mile hopeful for Minshall

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Barbara Minshall has been represented in two previous runnings of the Woodbine Mile by the multiple stakes winner Kiridashi, who finished seventh in the 1997 inaugural running and fifth the following season.

On Sunday, Minshall will be contesting her first Woodbine Mile of this decade with Estevan, a horse she claimed recently for $62,500.

The draw for the $1 million Woodbine Mile, a Grade 1 turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, was to take place Thursday, and the race was expected to attract a field of 13 to 15, with the connections of some candidates still undecided as of Wednesday morning.

Minshall, while well aware that Estevan will be a decided outsider, believes the horse deserves a shot at the Woodbine Mile.

"I had other options," said Minshall. "I just think the horse is doing really well right now."

Estevan is winless in 14 starts since capturing the Labeeb, an overnight stakes at one mile and 70 yards here on Nov. 5, 2005.

Since then, he has competed here and at Santa Anita, Mountaineer, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream and Calder for former trainer Josie Carroll, and was entered for a claiming price for the first time when he made his local seasonal bow on June 14.

Minshall dropped the claim slip that day, but Estevan did not make his first start for his new barn until Aug. 25.

"There were a few little things I thought I should address, so I gave him time off," said Minshall. "I wanted to get to know the horse a little bit.

"His first start back for me was going to be the Play the King prep, but it didn't fill."

The allowance prep for the Grade 2 Play the King, a seven-furlong turf race that is the major local prep for the Woodbine Mile, had been scheduled for Aug. 4.

With his return delayed by three weeks, Estevan finished 1 3/4 lengths back as the fourth-place finisher in the Play the King under new rider Eurico Rosa da Silva.

"I think he would have been a little tighter if he'd run in the prep, but I thought he ran a real good race in the Play the King," said Minshall. "He definitely got a little tired, but he came out of the race well."