10/28/2002 12:00AM

Defeated troops back home unhurt


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - No one really expected miracles from Woodbine's four-horse contingent on last Saturday's Breeders' Cup program at Arlington.

So while local boosters had to be disappointed after watching Wake at Noon, Chopinina, and Wando end next to last and Perfect Soul finish absolutely last, it should be noted that all four were the longest shots on the board in their respective races.

The good news is that all emerged relatively unscathed and were back in their stalls at Woodbine on Monday morning.

Wando might have been regarded as having the most realistic shot of the Woodbine invaders, although his hopes were dealt a severe blow when he drew an unfavorable post for the Juvenile. He was sent off at 36-1.

And while Wando soon managed to reach contention on the outside after breaking from post 12 in the field of 13 under jockey Richard Migliore, trainer Mike Keogh felt that style did not suit his colt.

"We had to send him because of that post," said Keogh. "We couldn't let him run the way he has been here and get covered up. It took him out of his game."

Keogh also believes that Wando did not handle the surface in his first out-of-town appearance.

"Richie said he didn't get hold of the racetrack, that he was just slipping and sliding," said Keogh. "He never switched leads down the lane.

"I still think he belongs with those kind. We'll just have to see."

Wando will stay here in light training while he winds down and will not see action again this season.

Perfect Soul, owned by Charles Fipke and trained by Roger Attfield, went off at the shortest price of the Woodbine shippers at 33-1.

But those odds were more a function of field size than relative merits, as Perfect Soul faced just seven rivals in the Turf.

And, after racing in contention for the first mile, Perfect Soul had nothing to offer.

"Everything's fine with him," said assistant trainer Rachel Halden, adding that Perfect Soul's immediate plans had not been determined.

Chopinina pressed the pace for a mile before faltering to finish 11th in the Filly and Mare Turf over yielding going at 41-1.

Emile Ramsammy rode both Chopinina and Wake at Noon.

"She got beat by some nice horses on a track she didn't seem to care for as much as the firm going here," said trainer Alec Fehr, who had sent out Chopinina to finish second in the Atto Mile on Sept. 8.

"Emile said he felt right away that she wasn't powering away, grabbing the track the way she was here."

Chopinina, owned and bred by the Knob Hill Stable of Steve Stavro, has been nominated to the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin Racecourse Dec. 15 and her connections will be keeping tabs on how that race is shaping up.

"She's only run four times this year," said Fehr. "She's still fresh."

Wake at Noon, dismissed at 78-1, never reached contention while finishing 12th in the Sprint.

"He got hammered coming out of the gate," said Abraham Katryan, who trains Wake at Noon for owner-breeder Bruno Schickedanz. "After that, it was difficult to get rolling.

Katryan added that Wake at Noon would make his final appearance of the season in the $125,000 Kennedy Road, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward here Nov. 30.

Krz Ruckus bags stakes at home

Krz Ruckus also is heading for the Kennedy Road after recording his third 2002 stakes win under jockey Dino Luciani here in Sunday's $105,000 Mt. Sassafras.

"It seems like Krz Ruckus doesn't run his 'A' race when he runs against Wake at Noon," said Mike DePaulo, who trains the gelding for Ron Guidolin and his sons, Ron Guidolin Jr. and Steven Guidolin.

"I was glad to see him out of town; I won't lie about it."

Strut the Stage wins stretching out

Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad missed out on the Breeders' Cup festivities for the first time since 1995. But they kept things cooking on the home front here Sunday with Strut the Stage, who defeated a solid field in the $279,500 Sky Classic.

Strut the Stage, with Todd Kabel in the saddle for the first time this season, was stretching out to 1 3/8 miles on a soft turf course after running well but failing to enter serious contention in both the Atto Mile and Shadwell Turf Mile.

"Obviously, a mile is just a little too short for him," said Frostad, "and he's been running against some really good horses."

The Sky Classic was the last start of the season for Strut the Stage, who will winter in Ocala.

"He'll probably surface again at Keeneland," said Frostad.

Full of Wonder, who won the Grade 1 Niagara over 1 1/2 miles of firm turf for Sam-Son and Frostad here Aug. 31, finished eighth of nine in the Sky Classic after trailing the field in the Canadian International, which was run over yielding going.

"He just doesn't appear to like soft turf," said Frostad, who indicated that Full of Wonder also was making his last appearance of the year.

The Sam-Son band still will be in full swing here next weekend, however, with Shoal Water slated for Saturday's Canadian Futurity, Catch the Ring for Saturday's Maple Leaf, Quiet Resolve for Sunday's Labeeb, and Atlantic Fury for Sunday's River Memories.