05/19/2002 11:00PM

From claimer to Plate contender


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Anglian Prince was running for a $25,000 claiming tag when he won his maiden in his fourth career start at Woodbine last Oct. 25.

But now Anglian Prince, a gelding, has thrust himself squarely into the Queen's Plate picture for his owner, Leonard Prussky, and trainer, Mort Hardy, after torpedoing his four opponents in Saturday's Marine Stakes.

"He's been slow maturing," said Hardy, in his office here Monday morning. "He's just getting better and better."

Anglian Prince, who had graduated over 6 1/2 furlongs, started twice more at 2, finishing third and then scoring in first-level allowance races at 1 1/16 miles.

And, after finishing seventh when he opened up his current campaign in the Achievement Handicap, Anglian Prince performed creditably while finishing second in the Woodstock and fourth in the Queenston.

With that current form, plus the stretch-out to 1 1/16 miles, Hardy was surprised his Marine entrant was taken so lightly.

"There was so much hype on the Sam-Son Farm horse, you would have thought everybody was running for second money," said Hardy, with reference to the previously undefeated odds-on Marine favorite Ford Every Stream.

"It was a short field, but I thought it was a very good field."

Anglian Prince is slated to make his next start in the $150,000 Plate Trial, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here June 1. The $1 million Queen's Plate, at 1 1/4 miles, will be run June 23.

Gonetofarr will go as far as Oaks

Jockey Jim McAleney, who rode Anglian Prince for the first time Saturday, also has a Labatt Woodbine Oaks contender, Gonetofarr.

Winner of the seven-furlong Fury under McAleney on May 5, Gonetofarr bypassed Monday's Selene and is headed straight to the $500,000 Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies on June 8.

Gonetofarr, owned by George Farr and trained by Reade Baker, worked six furlongs in 1:14.80 on the main track Monday.

"She'll go a mile next week," said Baker, who caught the filly galloping out seven furlongs in 1:29.

Sweep foiled

Hardy, meanwhile, almost pulled off a weekend stakes sweep when Mysterious Affair was beaten a head against males in Sunday's New Providence.

A 5-year-old mare who was bred and is owned by Hardy, Mysterious Affair was returning to action one week after finishing a faltering fifth in the George C. Hendrie Handicap.

"I was almost scared," said Hardy. "She'd never run a bad race in her life before. I still don't have a clue whether it was the track, or the early speed. She just spit it out."

Hardy now will aim Mysterious Affair for the June 12 Ballade, a $125,000, six-furlong race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares that she won last year.

Sambuca gives Romano another first

Sambuca on Ice, who caught Mysterious Affair in the last jump of the New Providence, was the first horse owned by Frank Romano and now has become his first stakes winner.

"He'll have a three-week break now," said trainer Rita Schnitzler, who was sending out Sambuca on Ice for his third straight victory in his fourth outing of the season. "He's earned his keep for a little bit."

Romano has two other horses with Schnitzler, the 3-year-old colt Quarterback Draw and the 2-year-old Frankie's Fire.

Quarterback Draw was claimed for $10,000 here April 19 and won first crack out for $16,000 two weeks later.

Frankie's Fire, a son of Alphabet Soup, was purchased for $95,000 at the select yearling sale here last September.

Potential Plate horses on parade

Another potential Plate horse saw action on Saturday's undercard as Forever Grand, owned by Frank DiGiulio Jr. in partnership with trainer Bob Tiller, won his third race in as many starts this season.

Forever Grand won a second-level allowance at seven furlongs, his second straight win over that distance, and is slated to try two turns for the first time in the Plate Trial.

"We'll find out how far he can go," said Tiller. "I have a feeling he's a pretty good horse and it's a wide-open Plate; there are a lot of possibilities."

Shaws Creek and Adjalah, also headed to the Plate Trial, worked on the main track Saturday morning.

Winner of the seven-furlong Queenston for Jam Jar Racing Stable and trainer John Ross, Shaws Creek went seven furlongs in 1:30 under regular rider Jake Barton.

"He's never been a huge work horse," said Ross. "It was a nice, even work."

The exercise was not entirely uneventful, however, as Shaws Creek unseated Barton when he came onto the track, and ran off.

"He just ran down to the end of the chute, and they got him," said Ross. "He's just getting sharper and sharper."

Adjalah, winner of a seven-furlong entry-level allowance last time out for owner Les Pereira and trainer David Bell, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 under jockey Richard Dos Ramos.

Tacky Affair, headed to the Oaks following a third-place finish in the Fury for Bell and owners Mike and Nick Nosowenko, worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 Saturday under exercise rider Sarah Cohen.

"They both breezed nice," said Bell. "There was no big effort."

Bell has another candidate for the Oaks in Silver Nithi, who also is headed straight to the stakes after winning her maiden over 1 1/16 miles here June 11 for owners Dick and Jo Ellen Shaw.

"She seems to have come out of her race really well," said Bell. "I thought she was set to win, anyway, and it was a nice easy spot to win in."

* Jockey Emile Ramsammy will be sitting out this Friday through Sunday's programs after withdrawing his appeal of a suspension issued earlier this spring. Jim McAleney has been fined $500 for misuse of his whip during last Friday's eighth race. The stewards ruled McAleney had cut the horse on the flank.