06/28/2005 11:00PM

DiMarco out for big Achievement


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer John DiMarco last visited Woodbine's infield stakes winner's circle in 1999, after Gallop'n Gold won the Bull Page.

On Friday, DiMarco will be hoping to make a long-overdue return trip when he sends out Gladiator at Home for the Canada Day supporting feature, the $158,550 Achievement Handicap.

The Achievement, a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, drew a field of five.

"I'm extremely happy with how my horse is coming into the race," said DiMarco on a hot and humid Wednesday morning. "He's putting on weight, which is hard to do in this weather."

Gladiator at Home, a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Parisianprospector and a full brother to stakes winner Parisia, originally was purchased for $32,000 by trainer Paul Buttigieg at the local select yearling sale.

"I bought him privately from Paul last fall," said DiMarco, who is stabled in the same barn as Buttigieg. "I liked the look of him, and he was training well. I also liked his pedigree, so I asked if he was for sale."

Owners Jim and Kerry Terdik, who race as J and K Stable, backed DiMarco's offer, and Gladiator at Home was put away for the season.

"I bought him for a 3-year-old," said DiMarco. "He was a May foal."

After wintering at the Terdik farm, where he did some jogging and very light training, Gladiator at Home joined DiMarco here in early March.

"He trained like a good one from day one," said DiMarco. "I was high on him. I kind of thought he had talent. Everybody that got on him thought he had talent, too."

That news obviously got around, as Gladiator at Home was sent off at 7-2 for his first start, which came over five furlongs of slop here April 23. But after breaking well from the inside post, Gladiator at Home weakened to finish fifth.

"It was a very bad track, and he got intimidated down on the rail," said DiMarco. "Then, when I ran him back he got the 1-hole again. I wasn't thrilled about it."

Gladiator at Home tired to finish seventh in that second start, which came over 5 1/2 furlongs, but DiMarco had an inkling that something was amiss.

"He was nervous after his first race," said DiMarco. "I kind of thought he was displacing his palate, so we did a little work to alleviate that problem."

That work, which DiMarco said involved equipment rather than surgery, obviously paid dividends. Gladiator at Home displayed a new and effective style when he rallied from 11th place to graduate over seven furlongs here June 5.

"He drew the 10-hole that time, which was a great asset," said DiMarco. "He relaxed from the outside and ran his race."

Jockey Emile Ramsammy, aboard for the first time that day, also was impressed.

"He said this horse could be anything," said DiMarco, who had been planning to run Gladiator at Home in a two-turn allowance and then cut back to seven furlongs for the $125,000 Deputy Minister here July 20.

But when the Achievement drew just seven nominees, DiMarco changed direction.

"This will be good for him, running in a small field," said DiMarco. "At this stage of the game, he needs some confidence."

Gladiator at Home drew post 4 for the Achievement, and Ramsammy retains the mount.

Quick in Deed, who will be seeking his fourth straight win, will break from the rail under regular rider Ray Sabourin and 120 pounds and looks like the one to beat.

An Ontario-sired colt owned by Kelynack Racing Stable and trained by Abraham Katryan, Quick in Deed became a stakes winner over six furlongs on yielding turf in the restricted Bold Ruckus last time out.

Dave the Knave, also Ontario-sired, will be cutting back in distance after tiring to finish eighth when facing older rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth here June 11.

Owned by his trainer, Bob Tiller, in partnership with Frank DiGiulio, Dave the Knave won the 6 1/2-furlong Sunny's Halo last year.

David Clark takes over aboard Dave the Knave, who will begin from post 2 and will be the second choice under top weight of 121 pounds.

Freefourinternet back for Dominion Day

Freefourinternet will be making his second appearance at Woodbine in Friday's main event, the $215,800 Dominion Day Handicap.

The 7-year-old Freefourinternet, who is the lone invader for the Dominion Day, finished seventh here in the Grade 1 Atto Mile when trained by Joan Scott in 2002.

Freefourinternet now is trained by Mike Maker and is to be ridden by John McKee, both of whom will be first-time starters in Canada.

Charting a course for Royal Regalia

Royal Regalia, who finished third here in last year's Atto Mile, worked six furlongs in 1:14.40 on the turf training track here Wednesday under jockey Jono Jones.

Owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Justin Nixon, Royal Regalia has not seen action since becoming a stakes winner in the 1 1/8-mile Texas Turf at Lone Star Park on Breeders' Cup Day, Oct. 30.

Royal Regalia had been pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Mile but did not make the starting lineup for the 14-horse field.

"We're hoping for the Atto Mile and Breeders' Cup this year, if everything goes right," said Nixon. "We'll just try to plot a strategy to lead up to those races."

The Atto Mile will be run here this year on Sept. 18. Breeders' Cup Day is Oct. 29, with the card to be run at Belmont Park.