07/14/2010 5:28PM

Coatrieux parts with Chiefswood

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario − Eric Coatrieux’s days as a private trainer for Chiefswood Stable have come to an end.

Coatrieux, who began his first full-fledged training gig for Chiefswood’s Robert and Mark Krembil in 2002, will be looking to launch a public stable, which he said he hopes will be based at Woodbine.

“I’m in the process of contacting owners I know and will try to find some new clients, as well,” said Coatrieux, who will attend the upcoming yearling sales at Keeneland as part of that plan.

Born in Paris, France, Coatrieux, 43, had come to Woodbine to work as an exercise rider for his uncle, trainer Bernard Girault, in 1987.

After spending a couple of years with that barn, Coatrieux galloped horses here for trainers Al Quanbeck, the late Tony Mattine, and Roger Attfield, for whom he worked from 1993 to 1997 before graduating to an assistant trainer’s role.

Moving on from Attfield, Coatrieux went to work with Godolphin.

“I was in Dubai, England, and the U.S.,” Coatrieux said. “There were all kinds of good horses: Swain, Dubai Millenium, Daylami, Fantastic Light, Street Cry.”

Coatrieux left Godolphin in 2001 and accepted the Chiefswood post after meeting Krembil at a sale in Kentucky that year. Operating out of the nearby Chiefswood Farm, Coatrieux registered his first stakes win with Niigon here in the 2004 Queen’s Plate.

Coatrieux also sent out graded stakes winners Fifth Overture, Ambitious Cat, Essential Edge, Aurora Lights, and Lomaki. All were Chiefswood homebreds out of mares who had been acquired at dear terms by the Krembils.

Although Lomaki and Aurora Lights won Grade 3 stakes in Florida this year, Chiefswood was having a slow season. When Coatrieux met with Robert Krembil last month, he said he knew the end was near.

“I could feel it happening this year,” Coatrieux said. “I was prepared for the time when it came. I knew I needed to go off on my own eventually.”

After shipping horses in from the farm for races and workouts in recent years, Krembil had informed Coatrieux that he would be basing some of his runners at Woodbine and had retained trainer Ian Black and Paul Attard for that purpose.

Black acquired Flaming Rose, an allowance-caliber 4-year-old filly, and Brenner Pass, a maiden he already has sent out to a fourth-place finish.

Attard received Gore Bay, a 4-year-old filly who has been on the fringes in stakes company but still has her second-allowance condition, and Macallan, a maiden he sent out to finish a close second with a $47,500 claiming tag last week.

A handful of Chiefswood horses also were sent to trainer Justin Nixon at Fort Erie.

Krembil offered to keep Coatrieux as a farm trainer, a role in which 2-year-olds would have been his focus, but that arrangement was short-lived.

“I’m a little bit more ambitious,” Coatrieux said. “That wasn’t going to work for me.”

Coatrieux said he parted with Chiefswood amicably.

“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it, and we’ve had some luck. But I knew it wasn’t going to last forever, obviously.”

Damsel produces weak field of five

Saturday’s $150,000 Ontario Damsel was stretched from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile on turf to give 3-year-old fillies a chance to race a mile on turf before the $250,000 Wonder Where, according to Steve Lym, racing secretary and a director of racing for Woodbine.

The Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race, will be run Aug. 1 and is the third leg of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Perhaps time will vindicate the decision, but the Ontario Damsel has produced a dubious field of five. Somme, winner of the Alywow over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf here June 13, and Barracks Road, a close sixth in that race, are legitimate contenders. But the three others include a recent maiden winner and two maidens.

Bison City also has light field

Sunday’s $250,000 Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile race that follows the Woodbine Oaks as the second leg of the triple tiara, also attracted five entrants.

Embur’s Song, third in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, looms as an odds-on choice at the Bison City’s shorter distance.

The connections of Roan Inish and Majesty of Moment, the first two finishers in the Woodbine Oaks, both elected to face males in last Sunday’s Queen’s Plate and ran third and eighth.

Platinum Exchange to allowance

Platinum Exchange was nominated to the Ontario Damsel but instead will appear in a first-level allowance over six furlongs on Polytrack here Saturday.

“I really wanted to get her back on the Poly to get her on track for the Duchess,” said Brian Lynch, who trains Platinum Exchange.

The $150,000 Duchess, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, will be run here Aug. 7.

After making her debut at Gulfstream with a third-place finish at six furlongs, Platinum Exchange was a sharp winner in her local debut at 6 1/2 furlongs April 18.

Platinum Exhange has finished second in each of her two subsequent starts, both on the turf: a first-level allowance at seven furlongs and the Avowal at 6 1/2 furlongs.

“I think her two races on turf have been very game races, but she might be a little bit better on the Poly,” Lynch said.

Lynch credits Anthony Stephen, a jockey who rides mainly at Fort Erie, with playing an instrumental role in Platinum Exchange’s development.

“He’s been getting on her every day, and he’s done a very good job with her,” Lynch said. “She’s a bit of an overachiever in the mornings. She does a little more than you want her to. We’re working on trying to get her to relax.”