04/23/2008 12:00AM

Gonzalez barn does it again


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Nick Gonzalez express continued its early-season roll here at Woodbine last Sunday when My List became the trainer's third stakes winner in as many weekends

Shilla had captured the opening-day La Voyageuse as the strong second favorite, and Stuck in Traffic struck a week later at odds-on in the Achievement.

My List, however, was expected to have her work cut out for her in facing fellow 4-year-old Bear Now, a Grade 2 stakes winner of four races and $769,750 in her last campaign.

Both fillies were making their 2008 debuts in the six-furlong Whimsical, but while Bear Now had wintered in Florida, My List had been on the Ontario farm of veterinarian Leah Guitard.

"We got her ready the old-fashioned way," said Gonzalez, who was in Florida while his wife and assistant, Martha, readied My List here at Woodbine.

Gonzalez, in fact, confessed to having had his doubts about My List just before the Whimsical.

"I was worried before the race Sunday, because speed was holding," said Gonzalez, who trains My List for Carlo and Lou Tucci. "But you can't alter the way she runs. You have to let her fall out of there and run her race."

Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva did just that as My List rallied gamely to defeat Bear Now by three-quarters of a length.

"Six furlongs isn't her ideal distance, but she was fresh," said Gonzalez. "Six and a half should be a little better."

My List will get the opportunity to travel that slightly longer trip in the Grade 3, $150,000 Hendrie, the next stakes for the division here May 11.

Baker unfazed by result

Reade Baker, who trains Bear Now for the Bear Stable of Danny Dion, was only mildly disappointed with his filly's second-place finish.

"We would have liked to get our pictures taken, but she ran a good race," said Baker. "She's slow to come around - she needs a race or two - and this wasn't her distance."

Baker had hoped to run Bear Now in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park only to see his chosen event fall by the wayside.

"The whole game plan turned upside down when I couldn't get that race," said Baker. "I wanted this to be her second race."

Baker is unsure of his next move with Bear Now but will consider Pimlico's Grade 2, $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares on Preakness Day, May 17.

Artie Hot to go in Jacques Cartier

Shilla will seek her second straight stakes score in the seven-furlong Fury here Sunday, with Stuck in Traffic scheduled to look for his stakes double in the May 3 Queenston at the same distance.

In the interim, Gonzalez and the Tuccis will be looking for another upset here Saturday with Artie Hot entered in the $150,000 Jacques Cartier at six furlongs.

Artie Hot, a 4-year-old gelding whom Gonzalez claimed for $32,000 at Gulfstream in the winter of 2007, became a stakes winner here last fall in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby.

His victims there included Alezzandro, winner of the Prince of Wales, and Mike Fox, winner of the Queen's Plate.

"Six furlongs, realistically, is probably too short for him," said Gonzalez. "But, like My List, he's turned that corner from 3 to 4 like you'd really want them to."

Attard strikes again

Winning a stakes race with a claimed horse is nothing particularly new in the world of trainer Sid Attard.

In recent years, Attard had acquired horses such as One for Rose, Just Rushing, Miss Concerto, Seattlespectacular, and Artic Laur via the claiming route and watched them go on to varying degrees of stakes success.

And now the name of Rumbling Cloud can be added to that list as that 3-year-old colt, who was claimed for $50,000 here last September, upset the heavily favored Carson's Legacy in last Saturday's $151,300 Woodstock at six furlongs.

Rumbling Cloud had raced here opening day, finishing fourth in a first-level allowance at five furlongs.

And, while there was another first-level allowance race at six furlongs on Saturday's card, Attard elected to run Rumbling Cloud in the Woodstock.

"I'd nominated him, and I thought if he ran a good race first time I'd run him," said Attard. "I liked him to win first time, but he doesn't like to be rushed. He wants to make the lead on his own."

Rumbling Cloud illustrated that point in the Woodstock as he assumed command through some moderate fractions and then battled back under Emma-Jayne Wilson.to defeat Carson's Legacy by three-quarters of a length.

"Now, I'm going to give him a month off," said Attard. "He ran twice in two weeks - he's going to need it."

Rumbling Cloud, a Florida-bred, is owned by Veronica Attard, the wife of retired jockey Larry Attard, who is in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

Gantu ready to start '08 campaign

Attard also has a pair of entrants for the Jacques Cartier in Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk and Gantu and a candidate for the Queenston in Kesagami.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk, owned by the Tuccis, was claimed for $50,000 here in the summer of 2005 and already has won three races this year, two at Gulfstream and the other in his local 2008 debut.

Gantu, a homebred 4-year-old gelding who races for Bob Harvey, will be making his first 2008 start in the Jacques Cartier.

Last year, Gantu won 4 of 8 starts and $196,354, winding up his campaign with a good fourth-place finish here in the Kennedy Road.

Kesagami, a homebred 3-year-old owned by Mel Lawson, will be taking his first step on a road that could lead to the June 22 Queen's Plate in the Queenston. Last year, Kesagami started four times, winning a seven-furlong maiden race and the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

Kesagami, who wintered in Kentucky but did not race there, will be looking to follow the example of stablemate Jiggs Coz, who won the Queenston in his season debut.

Jiggs Coz went on to win the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial and to finish third in the Queen's Plate and second in the Prince of Wales before ankle surgery cut short his campaign.

Now on the comeback trail, Jiggs Coz has been working well, and his first stakes target is the Grade 3, $150,000 Connaught Cup, a 1 1/16-mile turf race here May 25.

* Not Bourbon, second to Stuck in Traffic in the Achievement, breezed four furlongs in 47.40 seconds under Jono Jones here Tuesday in preparation for the Queenston. "He went very, very nicely," said trainer Roger Attfield, who is continuing his convalescence from a serious foot injury but was here to witness Not Bourbon's breeze.