06/10/2009 11:00PM

El Brujo still probable for Plate

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Michael Burns
Patrick Husbands won two stakes on El Brujo, but may switch mounts for the Queen's Plate.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - El Brujo is still in the mix for the Queen's Plate.

Despite watching El Brujo falter to finish ninth of 10 in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial May 31, trainer Malcolm Pierce is inclined to give the gelding another chance in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate here at Woodbine next Sunday.

El Brujo, a Windways Farm homebred, had gone into the Plate Trial as the 8-5 choice after winning the six-furlong Achievement and the seven-furlong Queenston in his first two starts of the season.

"Right now, I think we're going," said Pierce, who plans to send out El Brujo to work five furlongs on Sunday. "My horse came out of the race in good order."

Pierce said the defections of Plate Trial runner-up Southdale and the promising My Bad due to injuries put the Queen's Plate back on the table for El Brujo.

The trainer blamed himself for El Brujo's poor performance in the Plate Trial, citing misguided tactics given to jockey Patrick Husbands

"Patrick was only doing what I told him to do," said Pierce. "I thought his best chance to be going a mile and a quarter was to take him back and get him to relax a little bit."

El Brujo did take back, but reluctantly, through a tepid half-mile in 49.66 seconds before pulling himself into contention and launching a wide bid on the turn. But ultimately his rally fizzled.

"Obviously, we're not going to take him back again," said Pierce. "We're just going to let him run his race, and not try to get too smart."

Husbands is slated to ride El Brujo in the Plate, and he also is the regular rider of Tasty Temptation, the troubled second-place finisher in last Sunday's Woodbine Oaks, who is expected to be supplemented to the Queen's Plate if all remains well. That could leave Pierce looking for a rider and, before Husbands, Emma-Jayne Wilson had piloted El Brujo in his six starts last year, including a second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Four stakes horses cross-entered

Bent Attorney, Executive Flight, Krz Exec, and London Snow have been entered for both Saturday's Ballade at six furlongs and Sunday's Zadracarta at six furlongs on the turf.

The $125,000 Ballade, for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, drew 12 entrants and the $100,000 Zadracarta, for Ontario-foaled fillies and mares, attracted 10.

For stakes only, horses can be entered in a later race without scratching for the race first entered.

"For an extra $1,000 you get a look at both races," said Krz Exec's trainer, Mike DePaulo, referring to the entry fee for the Zadracarta,.

Krz Exec won the Ontario Damsel over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf in her first start here last spring but followed with two indifferent performances and was put away for the season.

"The grass might have moved her up; I don't know," said DePaulo. "She had bleeding issues last year, but we got them fixed up."

New owner syndicate has openings

A limited number of spaces are still available for this year's CTHS new owner syndicate program.

Sponsored by the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, the program allows participants to make a 10 percent investment in a racehorse and receive full input from an experienced mentor and trainer.

Since the program began in 2006, three groups of 10 owners have been introduced to Thoroughbred horse racing.

For information contact the CTHS at (416) 675-3602 or visit cths.com/syndicate.php.

Fundraiser for injured exercise rider

A benefit dinner and poker tournament will be held Monday for exercise rider Nikki Umiker, who sustained fractures and internal injuries in a recent training accident at a nearby farm.

The location is The Brickyard, 120 North Queen Street, Etobicoke. The $60 entry fee, which is due on Sunday, includes dinner.

Part of each entry fee will go toward Umiker's expenses during her recovery, which is expected to take about three months.

To register contact Shawn Kennedy, Woodbine's racetrack chaplain, or jockey agents Tom Patton or Kerri Beauclaire.