04/09/2008 11:00PM

DePaulo has good crop of 3-year-olds


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Mike DePaulo shed row at Woodbine is home to a handful of solid 3-year-old males this year, including several prospects for the Queen's Plate.

On Saturday, DePaulo will be represented in what he hopes is the first of many stakes for the division when he sends out the uncoupled pair of Five and Off and Sun Hawk in the $150,000 Achievement at six furlongs.

Five and Off, although Ontario-bred, is not considered a Queen's Plate hopeful because his forte appears to be sprinting.

Claimed for $50,000 here last September, Five and Off won a first-level allowance and then finished second for a $62,500 claiming price in his two appearance.

DePaulo explained that if he didn't run Five and Off in Saturday's stakes he would have had to look for a spot in a high-priced claiming race or a second-level allowance.

"I wouldn't like to run him for a tag yet," DePaulo said.

While Five and Off wintered at nearby Woodlands Farm, Sun Hawk was with DePaulo in Florida at Palm Meadows.

Sun Hawk finished seventh in his six-furlong debut and then graduated at 25-1 in his next start, at the same distance. The runner-up there, Deputiformer, subsequently won a stakes and also is trained by DePaulo.

"He's a big, good-looking horse," DePaulo said of Sun Hawk. "When I ran him three-quarters, that was probably a little short."

Deputiformer and Giquere also were with DePaulo at Palm Meadows and each made one start at Gulfstream. They stand as the barn's best prospects for the Queen's Plate.

Both Deputiformer and Giquere made their Florida appearances in first-level allowance races over one mile, with Deputiformer finishing third and Giquere fourth.

"They were good conditioning races for both horses," said DePaulo. "We got a mile race under their belts."

Deputiformer recorded his first win in the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of turf and then wound up his campaign by finishing third in the Coronation Futurity at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.

Returning to action on March 5, Deputiformer was beaten 14 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream in a race that was taken off the turf. The runaway winner, Big Brown, has since emerged as the leading Kentucky Derby candidate.

DePaulo said the surface switch probably hurt Deputiformer.

"He would have been better off if he stayed on grass; that was his first time on dirt," said DePaulo.

Giquere was an impressive winner at six furlongs in his only start at Woodbine last Dec. 9. In his only subsequent outing, at Gulfstream on March 20, Giquere was beaten 4 1/4 lengths at odds of 2-1.

"It was a disappointing race in that he was training so well," said DePaulo. "I thought there was going to be way more speed in the race. We made a mistake and took him back. If we'd let him roll, he would have won."

DePaulo plans to nominate both Deputiformer and Giquere to the $110,000 Wando, a new overnight stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles here April 25. The Wando is designed as a prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Marine at 1 1/16 miles on May 17.

Pronger and Ascot's Legend, a pair of maidens trained by DePaulo, also are among the nominees for the Queen's Plate.

Pronger finished a closing third over 6 1/2 furlongs in his fourth and final start here last fall. Ascot Legend ran third in his six-furlong debut and ended ninth when stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in his only other appearance.

A total of 132 horses are nominated to the $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here June 22.

Krz Exec won't be able to make Oaks

The DePaulo outlook is not so bright on the Woodbine Oaks front as Krz Exec, who closed out her first campaign with back-to-back stakes wins over 1 1/16 miles, is on the shelf.

"She had a little bit of a bone bruise, and we got behind on her," said DePaulo. "She's definitely not going to make the Oaks."

Krz Exec won her maiden over a mile and 70 yards and then ran her winning streak to three in the South Ocean for Ontario-sired fillies and the Ontario Lassie for Ontario-foaled fillies.

A total of 124 Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies are eligible for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, which will be run June 8.

Asmussen enters five this weekend

Trainer Steve Asmussen's Woodbine division will have its first starter here Saturday when Piano Tunner runs against seven other $20,000 claimers in the third race.

A 7-year-old mare, Piano Tunner was claimed for $25,000 at Hawthorne last December and picked up minor awards in two starts for Asmussen at Gulfstream this past winter.

Piano Tunner arrived here on Thursday along with eight other Asmussen runners, including the stakes-bound Wonderful Luck and Carson's Legacy.

Wonderful Luck, one of four Asmussen horses entered here Sunday, will go in the $150,000 Star Shoot for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs. Wonderful Luck won the 5 1/2- furlong Cinderella at Hollywood Park last May.

Carson's Legacy, winner of the six-furlong Birdonthewire at Calder last October and the 5 1/2-furlong Dixieland at Oaklawn Park in January, is eyeing next Saturday's $150,000 Woodstock, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds. Carson's Legacy finished second in the six-furlong Mountain Valley at Oaklawn last time out.