09/20/2009 11:00PM

Drysdale had seen it all before

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Michael Burns
Just as Well, Julien Leparoux up, was awarded first-place money in the Northern Dancer.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Neil Drysdale had come out on the wrong end of a big-race inquiry here back in 1999, when Hawksley Hill was demoted to fourth place after being the apparent winner of the Woodbine Mile.

And, although Drysdale has captured a pair of Woodbine Miles and a Canadian International in the interim, he experienced an unfortunate case of deja vu here Sunday when Marsh Side finished first in the but was knocked down to fourth after being found guilty of interference in the stretch run.

"He came over," said Drysdale. "The other horse went up in there, and there wasn't enough room. It was a difficult call."

Drysdale, who had been deeply concerned over the firm condition of the turf here, can at least take heart in the fact that Marsh Side confirmed his predilection for the Woodbine course and will be a serious threat to repeat in the Grade 1 Canadian International at 1 1/2 miles here Oct. 17.

His opponents there should include Just as Well, who was beaten a half-length but promoted to the top spot after experiencing an unrelated traffic problem in the Northern Dancer.

Just as Well, a 6-year-old horse who is owned and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, came into the Grade 1 Northern Dancer off a second-place finish behind the recently unbeatable Gio Ponti in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million.

Sheppard was interested in seeing how the new and improved version of Just as Well would perform at 1 1/2 miles.

Just as Well, who finished strongly after trailing early in the field of nine through most of the first 1 1/4 miles under his regular rider, Julien Leparoux, had an encouraging answer.

"I don't think his stamina is a problem, as long as you get him to settle off it," said Sheppard.

Just as Well, who had arrived from Presque Isle Downs on Friday morning, was headed back there Monday and probably will journey on to Keeneland to prepare for his next start.

And there would seem to be a good chance that will come here in the Canadian International.

"He ran well over the track," said Sheppard. "And the entry fee for the Breeders' Cup is enormous, although after winning this race I could probably afford it."

Marsh Side, who also had run fourth in last year's Northern Dancer, will remain at Woodbine to continue his preparations for the Canadian International.

Another crack at International

Quijano, the well-traveled German-bred 7-year-old who was moved up to second in the Northern Dancer after finishing a head behind Just as Well, also will stay on here for a third crack at the meeting's richest race.

Based in New York this summer for trainer Peter Schiergen, Quijano was beaten a nose by Champs Elysees as the runner-up in last year's Northern Dancer but then ended a disappointing ninth in the Canadian International. In the previous year's renewal, however, he had ended just a length back as the third-place finisher.

Champs Elysees, trained by Bobby Frankel, was seen as the main victim of Marsh Side's alleged indiscretion and finished 1 1/4 lengths back before being moved up to third place.

Third in the Canadian International after winning last year's Northern Dancer, Champs Elysees has been stabled here since late July and also will be staying on to contest this year's running.

Champ on same schedule

Sheppard and Leparoux had come out on the wrong end of a photo finish in Sunday's other supporting feature, as Forever Together, favored at 3-10, was beaten a nose in the Grade 3 Canadian for fillies and mares.

Forever Together also went down to defeat as the odds-on choice in last year's Canadian, finishing two lengths behind the winner in third.

But Forever Together went on to capture the First Lady at one mile on turf at Keeneland and the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles at Santa Anita en route to an Eclipse Award in her division.

Forever Together was on her way back to Presque Isle along with Just as Well on Monday, and Sheppard plans to follow a similar blueprint with the Oct. 10 First Lady and Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf next on her agenda.

Princess Haya may be back

Princess Haya, the upset winner of the $300,000 Canadian at 1 1/8 miles on turf, had come in under the radar despite arriving on the same van as the Sheppard stalwarts.

Trained by Michael Matz and saddled here by assistant Gillian Barnes, Princess Haya was headed back to Fair Hill, Md.

"We were trying to find a stake to run her in, on turf, and the last couple of times we entered her, they took it off," said Matz. "We knew Jonathan's filly was going to run up there, but we thought if we could get a piece of it we'd be very happy."

Matz will consider a return trip to Woodbine for Princess Haya for the Grade 1, $1 million E.P Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares on the same card as the Canadian International.