08/17/2005 11:00PM

Financingavailable won't run in Victoriana

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
A minor ailment cost Financingavailable five days of training.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Financingavailable looked like the horse to beat in Sunday's Victoriana Stakes at Woodbine, but she will not be keeping that date after suffering a temporary setback.

"A little problem flared up after her last work," said Lorne Richards, who trains Financingavailable for K.K. Sangara. "She had to miss about five days of training.

"I had wanted to work her back in a week, but I wasn't able to do that, so I didn't feel it was in my best interest to run."

Financingavailable, an Ontario-sired 4-year-old filly, was purchased privately last summer and became a stakes winner when she closed out her campaign in the seven-furlong Jammed Lovely.

After opening up this season with a third-place finish in the Zadracarta over six furlongs on turf, Financingavailable romped under second-level allowance terms over six furlongs of muddy going in her last start July 17.

Play the King coming up strong

Richards and Sangara are looking forward to next Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King, a seven-furlong turf handicap in which they plan to field My Lucky Strike.

A Kentucky-bred 6-year-old gelding, My Lucky Strike was claimed for $80,000 from his final start of 2004 and has been a solid performer this season.

My Lucky Strike made his first start of the year here May 27, finishing second to stakes winner Ministers Wild Cat in a fourth-level allowance over six furlongs on the main track, and came back a month later to end a closing fourth in the Grade 3 Highlander over six furlongs on turf.

Back on the dirt in a six-furlong money allowance on the main track here July 13, My Lucky Strike rallied off a quick pace to defeat the talented I'm the Tiger and Chris's Bad Boy.

Then, in the Aug. 7 Play the King prep over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf, My Lucky Strike again came running to prevail by a half-length and establish a track record of 1:13.97.

Richards said he believes My Lucky Strike is equally comfortable on turf or dirt.

"He's just a nice horse," said the trainer. "I think he's a little better if he can lay a little closer to the pace. But he made the lead before the eighth pole last time, and then he didn't know what was going on."

The Play the King is the major prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Atto Mile, which will be run here Sept. 18. Nominations for the Atto Mile close Aug. 31.

Soaring Free, a 6-year-old gelding who has won the last two editions of the Play the King, is expected to use this year's running as his springboard to a third Atto Mile appearance.

After finishing second to California invader Touch of the Blues in the 2003 Atto Mile, Soaring Free won the race last year and went on to be voted Canada's Horse of the Year and champion turf male.

Le Cinquieme Essai is another former champion pointing for the Play the King.

Although his Sovereign Award came in the 3-year-old male category, Le Cinquieme Essai, 6, has been going as strongly as ever and is undefeated in two starts this year, both over 1 1/16 miles on turf. After winning the Grade 3 Connaught Cup here May 29, Le Cinquieme Essai ventured to Fort Erie for an easy score in the Daryl Wells Sr. Memorial on July 4.

Royal Regalia may prep at Saratoga

One prominent Play the King nominee who is not scheduled to participate is Royal Regalia, who finished third in last year's Atto Mile.

"It's not really his distance," said trainer Justin Nixon. "The Atto Mile is his big goal; we're trying to decide the best path."

One option is the Grade 2, $200,000 Fourstardave, a 1 1/16- mile turf race at Saratoga on Aug. 27. Royal Regalia used the Fourstardave as his Atto Mile prep last year, finishing a solid third.

High Blitz headed to Arlington

Nixon expects to have at least one out-of-town entrant on Aug. 27, when High Blitz aims for the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.

High Blitz, a Florida-bred 5-year-old gelding, established a six-furlong track record in his first start of the year at Fort Erie on June 13 and then finished second in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture in his only subsequent start here July 9.

Queen's College out of Debutante

Queen's College, who had been pointing for Saturday's Ontario Debutante, will be staying in the barn.

"She had a little filling in one one ankle, so we decided to play it safe," said trainer David Bell. "It's a shame; she was doing good."

Queen's College has run well in each of her three starts, with her latest a second-place finish to the now-retired Wannatalkaboutme in the 5 1/2-furlong Shady Well here July 17.

Bell is considering the Play the King for the 5-year-old gelding I Thee Wed.

"I'm on the fence," said Bell. "We're considering it; we would be hoping for some more speed up front."

I Thee Wed, upset winner of the Grade 2 Nearctic over six furlongs on turf here last fall, finished third behind My Lucky Strike when favored in the Play the King prep.

Out From Africa on fence for derby

Out From Africa, who finished third behind a pair of older rivals when competing under second-level allowance terms at 1 1/16 miles here last Sunday, is among 11 nominees for next Saturday's 1 3/8-mile Canadian Derby at Northlands Park.

"He's about 50-50 right now," said John Ross, who trains Out From Africa for Huntington Stud Farm. "It's a little closer than I would like, but he came out of the race okay."

The Canadian Derby, western Canada's richest race, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $300,000.