07/05/2007 12:00AM

Doneraile Gem stepping up


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Doneraile Gem, off a surprising first-out maiden victory, makes the move up to stakes company in the $150,000 Clarendon on Saturday at Woodbine. The 5 1/2-furlong contest has lured nine other Ontario-bred 2-year-olds, including the promising filly Spin Move and Baldassare.

Doneraile Gem was purchased privately last fall by trainer John Cardella after he failed to attain his reserve at a local yearling sale. After Doneraile Gem worked in average fashion, Cardella ran him for $50,000 on June 7 and was astonished when the colt won the 4 1/2-furlong dash easily, while getting a 71 Beyer Speed Figure.

"He left the gate a little on the slow side," Cardella recalled. "Then, all of a sudden, he started picking them up and he kept on running. He's probably an afternoon horse, which is the best kind to have. I was quite impressed with the way he won, and you couldn't hold him on the ground the next day. He never leaves an oat and does everything the way a good horse does."

Cardella said he was content with Doneraile Gem's five-furlong work in 1:01.60 last Saturday.

"I worked him with one of my older horses, Ice Melted, and he stayed right with him," Cardella said. "He's done really well since his race. He's got a long stride, and I'm not worried about the distance."

Spin Move was a well-beaten fifth when she debuted at Keeneland, but she upset favored Alvena while winning her maiden over 4 1/2 furlongs here May 12. Trainer Mark Casse said his regular stable rider, Patrick Husbands, begged off Spin Move then to ride Alvena, so he secured Emma Wilson for the mount.

Casse, who won the 2003 Clarendon with the filly Maple Syrple, believes the distance should be ideal for Spin Move.

"I think she'll enjoy the five and a half more than the four and a half," Casse predicted. "Even though she's a speed-type, it takes her a little while to get into gear. When she worked five-eighths the other day, she actually galloped out a good seven-eighths."

Baldassare, who drew the outside post, finished fourth and then third after flashing speed in each of his starts.

"I always thought he could be a decent horse and I honestly thought that he wouldn't be a maiden at this point," trainer Kevin Attard said. "He looked like he was making a bold move in his last race and then flattened out, so I'm taking the blinkers off. He's been making the lead and then stopping, for some reason."