06/21/2002 12:00AM

Classic Case tops Charlie Barley


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Classic Case, who was taken off the Queen's Plate trail after finishing sixth in the Plate Trial here June 1, could pick up a consolation prize when he returns to turf for the Charlie Barley, one of three stakes on the Plate Day undercard.

The Charlie Barley, worth $110,000, is an open one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds that attracted a field of 10.

The 11th and final race on the program is the Sweet Briar Too Stakes, in which El Prado Essence looms the choice among seven fillies and mares vying over seven furlongs for a purse of $107,000.

Owned by the Stonerside Stable of Robert and Janice McNair and trained by Mark Casse, Classic Case became a stakes winner this March in Tampa Bay's Budweiser Challenger, a one-mile turf race.

Classic Case then finished sixth in Churchill's Crown Royal American Turf before returning home for the Plate Trial.

Although back on his preferred surface Sunday, Classic Case will face some formidable opposition in Portcullis and El Soprano, another pair of Canadian-breds who bypassed the Plate in favor of turf racing.

Portcullis, owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, exits a fifth-place finish in the Hawthorne Derby, a Grade 3 race over 1 1/16 miles of soft going May 11.

El Soprano, who races for Stronach Stable and is trained by Roger Attfield, finished behind two older rivals in his 2002 debut under second-level allowance conditions in a 1 1/16-mile turf race here June 2.

The unknown quantity in the Charlie Barley is Changeintheweather, a Kentucky-bred who will be making his turf debut but has worked well over that surface.

Winner of the Grade 1 Grey over 1 1/16 miles here last October, Changeintheweather has been disappointing in his recent outings and David Bell, who trains the colt for the Pin Oak Stable of Josephine Abercrombie, has opted to see if the change in surfaces will provide a wake-up call.

El Prado Essence was an impressive winner of the Grade 3 Hendrie over 6 1/2 furlongs of sloppy going here last time out.

Her rivals in the Sweet Briar Too include stakes winners Devastating, who exits a second-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron, and Elektraline, who won the Grade 3 Bessarabian at seven furlongs in her only previous start here.

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