04/30/2009 11:00PM

Filly gets class test in Fury

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Not Just a Rumor raced true to her name when she scored a 6 1/2-length victory as the even-money choice in her five-furlong debut here at Woodbine on April 10.

Sunday, Not Just a Rumor will be getting an early acid test when she faces seven other Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies in the seven-furlong Fury Stakes.

The Fury is considered an important stepping-stone to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies on June 7.

"She worked well last year, and showed promise," said trainer Sid Attard. "She was almost ready to run in the spring, but she came up with chips in both her knees."

Not Just a Rumor underwent surgery here and then wintered in Ocala, Fla., with Paul Sharp before returning to Woodbine in mid-February.

"She started breezing right away," said Attard.

Not Just a Rumor was so highly regarded by her connections, Hali Stable and Norseman Racing Stable, that she was under serious consideration for the opening-day La Voyageuse, a five-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies, before opting for the maiden race the following weekend.

Leading rider Patrick Husbands is sticking with Not Just a Rumor, who will break from post 1 in the Fury.

"Patrick really likes her," said Attard.

Attard also is high on I've Got Style, a 2-year-old half-sister to Not Just a Rumor who had her first breeze last weekend.

"I liked what I saw," said Attard, who watched I've Got Style breeze two furlongs in 24.40 seconds.

And, the barn could use a shot in the arm since Utterly Cool and Mean Green, its top 2-year-olds from last year, are on the shelf with no return dates in sight.

Utterly Cool, a 10 1/4-length winner of last fall's Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of yielding turf, sustained an ankle injury when preparing for the Coronation Futurity and had to undergo surgery. Utterly Cool is in Kentucky.

Mean Green won the seven-furlong Simcoe and six-furlong Bull Page but was injured during his second-place finish in last November's 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie.

"We brought him back in this year but he showed some weakness and we had to stop again," said Attard.

Attfield reunites with Stronach

Roger Attfield has had previous experiences as a trainer for Stronach Stable, with their most recent collaboration ending in 2002.

Now, Attfield is back in the Team Stronach lineup and was at nearby Adena Springs on Thursday sizing up his new prospects.

"I'll train a few for them, between the farm and here," said Attfield, who will set aside eight stalls for Stronach horses.

"I'll be able to change them up, and mix them around. It's excellent, to be able to use the farm and the track. I'd like to do that with all of my horses."

While Attfield said that most of his Team Stronach prospects are unraced, there is one proven stakes competitor on his list in Sligovitz.

Previously trained by Brian Lynch, who had been Stronach's exclusive ontrack trainer but now finds himself sharing those duties with Attfield and Reade Baker, Sligovitz earned more than $290,000 last year and was stakes-placed in the Breeders' and Ontario Derby.

Last winter, Sligovitz finished a close fifth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and third in the Grade 3 Pan American.

Plate prospect in maiden sprint

Southdale, a promising colt who is being primed for a possible appearance in the June 21 Queen's Plate, is scheduled to make his first local appearance on Sunday in a seven-furlong maiden race.

Trained by Ian Black, Southdale finished an encouraging third when debuting in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race at Keeneland on April 10.

Southdale, who was with Black here last year but did not make the races, spent the winter at Payson Park with Attfield, who was the trainer of record for the Keeneland race.

Prep for Rahy's Attorney fails to fill

Black entered Rahy's Attorney, who was last year's champion turf male, in a 1 1/16-mile classified allowance here last Friday.

And, while the race was carried over until Saturday it still did not fill despite being the first six-figure allowance race ever offered here with a purse of $101,100, including Ontario-bred bonuses.

Black had planned to have Rahy's Attorney use the race as a prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Connaught Cup here May 24.

Rahy's Attorney won the Connaught Cup, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 4-year-olds and upward, off one Polytrack prep last spring.

"I'll have to train him up to the race now," said Black.

Lauzon tutors apprentice Wyard

Beth Wyard had her apprentice allowance reduced from 10 pounds to five pounds after riding her fifth career winner here last Friday.

Wyard, a 23-year-old who was born in Cambridge, Ontario, began her career with a second-place finish aboard Rich Era here last Oct. 26 and rode two winners before the meeting wound up on Dec. 7.

After spending the winter at Palm Meadows galloping horses for trainer Brian Lynch, Wyard returned to Woodbine in March and had registered 3 wins from 21 mounts at the meeting through Wednesday night's program.

"I'm feeling very good, and confident," said Wyard. "I absolutely love what I'm doing; it's so exciting.

"I want to be the best. I want to be one people remember."

Wyard's agent is 47-year-old Jack Lauzon, who began his own riding career in 1981 and had recorded 1,619 winners from 12,773 mounts before calling it quits in 2007.

Lauzon was the recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award last year and this Sunday will be enshrined on the Welland Sports Wall of Fame in his hometown of Welland, Ontario.

"We work well together," said Wyard. "We have fun, and I learn so much from him. He's very patient."

Ontario awards dinner set for June

Adena Springs and the late Morgan Firestone will be among the Ontario champions honored at the local Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's annual awards night on Friday, June 12.

Adena Springs will be feted as breeder of the year while Firestone will be the posthumous recipient of the Mint Julep Cup, in recognition of his contributions to the Ontario Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

A silent auction also will be held, with proceeds to the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Lionhead Golf and Country Club in nearby Brampton. Tickets, at $78.75 each, may be obtained by contacting the CTHS office at (416) 675-3602.