05/28/2008 11:00PM

Cool Gator hurt, out of Plate Trial


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Cool Gator, who had been scheduled to use Sunday's $150,000 Plate Trial as a stepping-stone to the $1 million Queen's Plate, will not be in the line-up and is doubtful for the Plate itself.

"The horse is injured," said Danny Vella, who trains Cool Gator for owner/breeder Garland Williamson.

"We don't know how serious it is. It's not a simple injury; it's not something we totally understand. He's here now, and we're still doing tests. We're finding more information each day."

Cool Gator had breezed five furlongs in 1:03.80 on Monday in what was to be his final Plate Trial tune-up.

"We noticed some lameness the day after his work," said Vella. "Long-term, he should be well. It's not a catastrophic breakdown, and it's not like a chip or a crack."

Cool Gator, considered one of the leading candidates for the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate, would have been the second favorite behind Harlem Rocker in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial.

After finishing second in both the Grade 3 Grey at 1 1/16 miles and the Coronation Futurity at 1 1/8 miles here last fall, Cool Gator spent the winter at Gulfstream in order to gear up for the Queen's Plate.

Cool Gator made two starts there, both at 1 1/8 miles, finishing second in an entry-level allowance and fifth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 29.

Harlem Rocker to arrive Friday

Harlem Rocker, undefeated in three starts for Stronach Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher, was scheduled to check in from his Belmont Park base early Friday morning.

Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, Harlem Rocker won his first two starts at Gulfstream Park, a maiden over seven furlongs on Feb. 14 and a first-level allowance over one mile on March 30.

In his last start, at Aqueduct on April 26, Harlem Rocker was an impressive winner of the Grade 3 Withers over one mile.

The Plate Trial will be Harlem Rocker's first try around two turns and on Polytrack. Eibar Coa, who has been aboard for all of his starts, retains the mount.

Bond running pair in Plate Trial

Trainer Jim Bond has been represented in two Canadian Triple Crown events but was disappointed when Wild Years finished last of six in the 2001 Prince of Wales and Ok by Me ran fifth in the 1996 Breeders'.

Bond is hoping to get an earlier start on the Canadian Triple Crown trail this year, as he will run both Pewter and Solitaire in the Plate Trial.

Both geldings made their last starts at Gulfstream, with Pewter winning his maiden over seven furlongs on April 12 and Solitaire finishing a close third in a 1 1/8-mile maiden turf race on April 14. They are based at Saratoga.

"I worked both horses together here Sunday on the Oklahoma training track, which is kind of a deep, slow track," said Bond, who watched Pewter and Solitaire breeze five furlongs in 1:02.40 . "They really galloped out strong.

"They're both rock solid, and they're both doing really well. It's really hard to separate them."

Pewter raced twice at Belmont last September, showing speed but faltering badly on both occasions.

"We always thought he was a nice horse," said Bond. "He had some throat problems, and we did some throat surgery and I gelded him, and kind of got him back organized.

"I put him away for a little while, and let him grow up, and he came out pretty strong at Gulfstream."

Pewter scored by six lengths in that Gulfstream return, earning a respectable Beyer Speed Figure of 85, and Bond began entertaining thoughts of the Queen's Plate.

"There was a spot for him going seven-eighths the first week of May, but I decided it was a little too quick," said Bond. "So I just took him to Sarataga to regroup and get ready for the Plate Trial and see where we're at."

Bond also is high on Solitaire, who was off to a slow start and closed well to be beaten just a length in his debut.

"Solitaire ran a tremendous race," said Bond. "He just got beat, and was much the best in that race."

Bond also opted not to run Solitaire in the interim.

"I couldn't find the right spot," said Bond. "I didn't want to recycle him twice just before the Plate. I didn't think it was in his best interests."

Patrick Husbands has the call on Pewter for the Plate Trial while Robert Landry gets the mount on Solitaire.

Rounding out the field of eight for the Plate Trial will be Not Bourbon, winner of the seven-furlong Queenston in his last try here May 3; Sebastian's Song, successful in his first two starts before disappointing when stretching out for a second-level allowance here May 3; East End Tap, who has been ineffectual in two outings this season and is making his first start for trainer Reade Baker; Mamma's Knight, another one-time winner who won his maiden around two turns here last November; and Chasin the Tornado, a maiden.

* Jennifer Morrison will host a one-hour Plate Trial seminar here Sunday, beginning at 11 a.m. on the second floor of the grandstand.

Morrison's special guests will be trainer Alec Fehr, who will send out Sebastian's Song for the Plate Trial, and Jim McAleney, who had been scheduled to ride Cool Gator in the Plate Trial.