05/06/2007 11:00PM

Fury wasn't in Saskawea's plans


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Saskawea had been slated to make her season debut in a second-level allowance here at Woodbine.

But when that race did not fill, Saskawea's trainer, Steve Attard, ran her instead in Sunday's $150,000 Fury Stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

Saskawea, benefiting from a favorable trip under Justin Stein, rallied to a 2 3/4-length victory in the seven-furlong Fury and stamped herself as a legitimate candidate for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 10.

"She'd been training like a monster," said Attard. "Her fitness was no doubt, in my mind. She was very impressive."

The Woodbine Oaks, for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, is at 1 1/8 miles.

Saskawea was a convincing allowance winner when trying two turns for the first time here late last fall after placing in two sprint stakes, the six-furlong Fanfreluche and the seven-furlong Glorious Song.

The Grade 3, $250,000 Selene, a 1o1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies here May 20, would be Saskawea's final stepping-stone to the Woodbine Oaks.

"I'd rather have three weeks between races than two weeks," said Attard. "But, there's no other option."

Attard and Saskawea's owner and breeder, Les Pereira, came close to striking paydirt in last year's Woodbine Oaks with Sweet Breanna, who finished second behind subsequent Canadian champion Kimchi.

Sweet Breanna, who closed out her 2006 campaign with a victory in a second-level allowance race, has not raced this year.

"She's been training awesome," said Attard. "There's a race for her later this month. We're pointing for the Hill 'n' Dale with her."

The $100,000 Hill 'n' Dale, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, will be run here June 16.

Palace Pier maybe needed the race

Palace Pier, the odds-on choice in the Fury, faltered to finish third under jockey Todd Kabel after dueling for the lead between horses.

Trained by Darwin Banach, Palace Pier was making her second start of the season. She ran third in Keeneland's Grade 2 Beaumont in her season debut

"I thought she put in a good effort," said Banach, who arrived in mid-afternoon after driving home from Kentucky, where he sent out Sky Conqueror to win Saturday's Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.

He thought Palace Pier perhaps wasn't quite sharp enough for the Fury.

"I think she needs a race or two over this track," he said. "It's a dry, deep Polytrack right now and she got a little tired. It's a whole different Polytrack than Keeneland."

Sky Conqueror returned to Woodbine and will be nominated to the Grade 3, $150,000 Connaught Cup, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 4-year-olds and up here on May 27.

Banach also mentioned the Gradeo1, $400,000 Manhattan, a 1 1/4-mile turf race at Belmont on the June 9 Belmont Stakes card, as an option for Sky Conqueror.

Meanwhile, Native Legend, a Kentucky-bred who won the six-furlong Star Shoot at Woodbine in her last start for Banach, is nominated to the Selene and also will be considered for Belmont's Grade 1, $250,000 Acorn, a one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies on the Belmont Stakes card.

Quiet Jungle to Oaks?

Quiet Jungle strengthened her case for a berth in the Woodbine Oaks in Sunday's first race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance for 3-year-old fillies.

Owned and bred by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, Quiet Jungle was making her third career start and her local debut when she got up to win by a head under Kabel after seeming destined to lose in midstretch.

"It was very eventful," Frostad said after the race. "Hopefully, that will smarten her up a bit. She ran pretty greenly."

Quiet Jungle is nominated to the Selene, but Frostad is not enthused about the timing.

"That would be a bit quick back," said Frostad. "Two weeks, then three weeks to the Oaks. But, we're definitely thinking Oaks. She'll go all day, and has a good running style."

Jiggs Coz impresses in Queenston

Marchfield and Mountain Wolf, both of whom are considered Queen's Plate prospects, finished one-two following a torrid stretch duel in Sunday's fourth race, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1o1/4-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, will be run here June 24.

But the most impressive performance of a Queen's Plate candidate last weekend was that of Jiggs Coz, who came from off the pace for a 3o1/4-length win under jockey David Clark in Saturday's seven-furlong Queenston for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.

"He's been going really good," said Sid Attard, who trains Jiggs Coz. "He's very fit - he only missed one month of training after his last race last year. He was back in training right away this year at Keeneland."

Jiggs Coz is nominated to the Grade 3, $250,000 Marine, a 1 1/16-mile race on May 19.

"He won't run back in the Marine, in two weeks," said Attard, who plans to use the June 3 Plate Trial as the final Queen's Plate tune-up for Jiggs Coz.

The $150,000 Victoria Park, a 1 1/8-mile race on June 10, is the final local stakes prep for the Queen's Plate.

Like Mom Like Sons, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old who won the six-furlong Woodstock here April 21 for Attard, could be headed for the Belmont Stakes card in New York on June 9, with his target being the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup Stakes. The $250,000 Woody Stephens is a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

"There are no races for him here," said Attard.