10/12/2006 11:00PM

Good group of Euros coming


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Next Sunday's $2 million Canadian International and $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes are beginning to take shape, and early indications are that there will be decent-sized fields for both Grade 1 turf races here at Woodbine.

The Canadian International, a 1o1/2-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, and the E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares, will be joined on the Oct. 22 card by the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

The European contingent is scheduled to arrive from England on Sunday, with four horses slated to ship for the International and two apiece for the Taylor and Nearctic.

Blue Monday, who placed in back-to-back Group 1 stakes this summer before winning the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial at Newbury, looms the most dangerous of the Canadian International invaders.

Kastoria and The Last Drop, who both have placed in Group 1 stakes at 1 3/4 miles, and Collier Hill, second in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic this past March, are the other International hopefuls.

Dionisia, winner of the Group 1 Italian Oaks, and Red Bloom, a Group 2 winner in Ireland, are the prospective incoming Taylor candidates.

Almerita, a Group 1 winner in Germany, remained at Woodbine to prepare for the Taylor after finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Canadian on Sept. 17.

Moss Vale, a Group 2 winner, and Peace Offering, a Group 3 winner, are the European hopefuls for the Nearctic.

There should also be some serious American presence in the Canadian International with Relaxed Gesture, the defending champion, among those slated to ship in from south of the border.

Meteor Storm, runner-up to Relaxed Gesture here last year, and Go Deputy, winner of Saratoga's Grade 1 Sword Dancer this summer, also are scheduled to be on hand. Better Talk Now, winner of the 2004 Breeders' Cup Turf, is a possibility.

A solid local contingent made up of Sky Conqueror, Jambalaya, and Last Answer will greet the invaders.

Four Americans probable for Taylor

The United States also will be well represented in the Taylor.

Ready's Gal, winner of the Canadian, and Naissance Royale, who took the Grade 2 Nassau here this past spring, both are scheduled to be back on Sunday.

Latice and Barancella, both right there when finishing second and fourth, respectively, in last year's Taylor, also are on the list of hopefuls.

Aubonne and Live Life, both trained by Neil Drysdale in California, are Taylor probables.

Locally based candidates are Arravale, runner-up in the Canadian but a Group 1 winner at Del Mar this summer; Ambitious Cat, a close third in last year's Taylor; and Murani, upset winner of the Flaming Page here last time out.

Ice Bear adds blinkers for turf debut

Mac Benson, who trains Arravale, also will be hoping to bag Sunday's Cup and Saucer with Ice Bear, a homebred gelding whom he campaigns for the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge.

Ice Bear will be making his third start in the Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds that offers a purse of $250,000.

After winning his debut at six furlongs here Sept. 10, Ice Bear finished second in his only subsequent start over the same distance three weeks later.

Benson pointed out that there was no allowance prep for the Cup and Saucer this year.

"There was no plan to bring a horse up to the race," said Benson. "The only race he was eligible for was the six-furlong race. It's certainly not ideal."

Benson does have reason to believe Ice Bear will take to the turf, however, as his dam, Bristol Pistol, was a multiple stakes winner on the grass here.

Meanwhile, Ice Bear wore blinkers when working six furlongs in 1:14.40 here Monday and will race with the equipment for the first time in the Cup and Saucer.

"I think they'll help him focus a little better," said Benson.

Ice Bear also is nominated to the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Nov. 5.

Cobrador arrives for Coronation

Trainer Mike DePaulo also has a candidate for the Coronation Futurity as Cobrador, who has been campaigning south of the border, checked into his barn here Friday morning.

DePaulo recently was contacted by Dennis Foster, one of Cobrador's owners.

"He asked if I'd be interested in taking this horse for the Coronation Futurity," said DePaulo. "He's run strictly on grass, but he's trained well on Polytrack at Keeneland."

Cobrador, an El Prado colt, began his career with a third-place finish going a mile at Arlington on Aug.o18 and then followed up with his maiden win at the same distance there Sept. 4.

In his next and most recent start, at Keeneland last Saturday, Cobrador finished third in a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

DePaulo sent out Shillelagh Slew, a leading candidate for the Sovereign Award in his division this year, to finish a close third in last fall's Coronation.

* Apprentice jockey Catherine O'Brien recorded her first Woodbine winner on Friday, guiding Fortunate Heart ($33.20) to victory in the day's first race. O'Brien, whose only other previous winner came at Fort Erie last month, is represented here by agent Gary Kemplen.