10/13/2009 12:00AM

Few strangers in Canadian International

Michael Burns
Legal Review, ridden by Patrick Husbands, holds off Doctor Jack to win Monday's Bull Page at Woodbine by a half-length.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - There will be a definite sense of familiarity in Saturday's Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International.

The race, run at 1 1/2 miles on turf, bears an eerie similarity to last year's running, with top-three finishers Marsh Side, Spice Route, and Champs Elysees in the lineup.

Marsh Side, Just as Well, Quijano, and Champs Elysees are swinging back after finishing first through fourth in the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles on firm turf here Sept. 20.

The Northern Dancer finish, however, did not stand.

Garrett Gomez, the rider of Champs Elysees, claimed foul against both Quijano and Marsh Side

The stewards agreed and ruled that Marsh Side, under Javier Castellano, had interfered with Quijano and Champs Elysees in the stretch. Marsh Side was placed fourth.

Robert S. Evans, who owns Marsh Side, has appealed the decision, and Castellano appealed a three-day suspension imposed by the stewards.

The Ontario Racing Commission has yet to set a date for a hearing.

Neil Drysdale, who trains Marsh Side, called the decision "a difficult call." Gomez said after the race that he believed he was on his way to winning the Northern Dancer when the incident occurred.

Legal Review gets his stakes

Legal Review became a stakes winner in Monday's $126,200 Bull Page, scoring by a half-length under jockey Patrick Husbands in the six-furlong race for Ontario-sired colts and geldings.

Trained by Mark Casse, Legal Review won a 5 1/2-furlong Ontario-sired maiden race in his debut. But in his second start, Legal Review weakened late and finished fifth in the seven-furlong Simcoe for colts and geldings who went through the ring at a local yearling sale.

"I think this colt is probably a decent little horse, but he definitely has distance limitations," said Casse. "I think the seven-eighths got him last time."

In the Bull Page, Legal Review took the lead at the top of the stretch and opened up with a furlong to run, but was hard-pressed to fend off a closing Doctor Jack.

"Patrick had to push the button a little sooner than he wanted to, and he got a little late," said Casse. "If you could wait a little longer, maybe he'd go farther."

Legal Review will try seven furlongs again in the $125,000 Frost King, a race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds here Nov. 4.

Casse points two to Cup and Saucer

Casse's next stakes venture is slated to come in Sunday's $250,000 Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

His candidates are General Staff, a maiden winner over seven furlongs in his fourth career start last time out, and Powermouse, a closing third in his only start, which came at seven furlongs.

Casse said both horses like the grass, noting General Staff was beaten two lengths when sixth over six furlongs in his lone turf start and that Powermouse is a son of Kitten's Joy.

Special victory for Attards

Trainer Sid Attard is no stranger to winning a stakes race with a claimed horse. But his success in Monday's $101,200 Mt. Sassafras with Stunning Stag, who was claimed here almost two years ago for $40,000, was all the sweeter because his wife, Janice, is the owner.

The victory was the first in a stakes for both Janice Attard and Stunning Stag, a 5-year-old gelding who was making his second start of the season after returning from a 10-month absence.

"Last winter, he colicked, and we sent him to Guelph," said Sid Attard, referring to the veterinary clinic at the nearby university. "He came out very good, and we brought him in here. But after the first two or three days, he was very body-sore, so we sent him back to the farm for about three months. We just took our time with him."

In his first start back, Stunning Stag finished fourth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by stakes-winning opponents in a 1 1/16-mile classified allowance.

Attard said he had considered running back Stunning Stag in the Grade 3 Durham Cup, an open race at 1 1/8 miles here Oct. 4. But he opted for the Mt. Sassafras, in which Stunning Stag was cutting back to seven furlongs and facing Ontario-foaled opposition.

Bad trip for Ghost Fleet

Stunning Stag's success helped compensate for a disappointing Saturday for Attard, who watched Ghost Fleet finished fourth as the 2-1 choice in the Grade 3 Grey over 1 1/16 miles.

Ghost Fleet was beaten two lengths, and Attard said the colt could have been compromised by a slow pace and some minor traffic problems.

Ghost Fleet, winner of the six-furlong Vandal and seven-furlong Swynford, should make his next start in the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-breds here Nov. 8.