04/29/2010 11:00PM

Halden running local show for Mott


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Rachel Halden, a longtime assistant to Roger Attfield, has trained her own stable at the last two Woodbine meetings. But she has returned to a supporting role here this year and will be running an eight-horse barn as an assistant to trainer Bill Mott, who has stalls here for the first time.

The partnership was born when Halden was at Payson Park this winter, working with trainer Ian Black.

"I've known Billy for a while," Halden said. "He approached me down there, and we just got talking about what I was doing this year. I thought it was a good opportunity for me to broaden my horizons, meet some new people. And you can't beat being around nice horses."

Mott has eight stalls at Woodbine. Five are occupied, and two other horses are scheduled to arrive Sunday.

Heading the first wave of Mott runners is Successful Mission, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt owned by Live Oak Plantation. Successful Mission has been on the march this year, with three wins in as many starts in turf allowance races at the Fair Grounds and Keeneland.

While Successful Mission is nominated to next Sunday's Grade 3 Vigil, a seven-furlong Polytrack stakes, he is more likely to run in the Connaught Cup, a Grade 3, $150,000 race that is the first turf stakes of the meeting. The Connaught Cup will be run over seven furlongs May 30.

The other Mott runners on the grounds are Calimonco, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old who has been running well under second-level allowance terms at Santa Anita; Paradise Bound, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old filly coming off a first-level allowance score over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Keeneland; Seeking Sheba, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly who has been working well for her debut; and Consulate, a 3-year-old colt who won his maiden for $12,500 at Gulfstream this winter.

The new arrivals will be Chief Counsel and Tapis Magique.

Chief Counsel, a 3-year-old, is eligible for an entry-level allowance race but has placed in restricted sprint stakes at Monmouth and the Ocala Training Center. He also was fourth in each of his last two starts, Turfway's Grade 2 Lanes End at 1 1/8 miles and Keeneland's Grade 2 Lexington over 1 1/16 miles.

Tapis Magique, 4, is a maiden after four starts but returned from an absence of more than a year to finish second at the Fair Grounds and then Keeneland this spring.

Hollinger, Not Bourbon work

Queen's Plate horses, present and past, are on trainer Roger Attfield's mind these days.

Hollinger, the early favorite for this year's renewal July 4, had his first local breeze Friday after spending the off-season at Payson Park with a stopover at Keeneland this year.

Hollinger, with regular rider Tyler Pizarro in the irons, put away his workmate and went six furlongs in 1:12.60. The clockers caught Hollinger going in fractions of 46.80 and 59.60 seconds and galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.80.

"He did it very nicely," Attfield said. "I'm happy with where he's at right now."

Hollinger is nominated to next Saturday's $100,000 Wando, an open 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds, and the May 15 Queenston, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.

Another Attfield horse, Not Bourbon, who won the Queen's Plate in 2008, has been working up a storm as he nears his first start since September 2008. He missed all of last year after suffering a fractured shoulder.

Not Bourbon's last move was a 59.60-second breeze under regular rider Jono Jones here Thursday. He is two works away from getting back into action.

"I had him with me in Florida from the first of the year," Attfield said. "He's working better than he ever has. He's more relaxed about it, and he's finishing better. He's doing really well right now. It's very encouraging at this point."

Griffith gets a special victory

Ricky Griffith has visited the winner's circle here many times, as a rider and during his 10 years as an assistant to trainer Mark Casse.

But Griffith experienced a special thrill here Wednesday night, when Luna Blu gave him his first Woodbine win as a trainer.

"It's gratifying to be there, with my name at the bottom of the win photo," said Griffith, who went out on his own last August and saddled his first winner at Fort Erie. "In one way it's just another day at the office, but there's more weight on my shoulders now."

Griffith has eight stalls here but has more than 20 horses at the Kelynack farm of his main client, Glenn Harvey.

Luna Blu, a 4-year-old filly, is a Kelynack homebred by Lemon Drop Kid out of the crack local sprinter Mysterious Affair. Luna Blu finished second in her debut last fall and returned Wednesday night with a 1 1/4-length score.

"I liked her from last year," Griffith said. "Both her races, in my opinion, have been very good. She's a nice horse."

* Jockey David Garcia will be sitting out the Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday cards here and has been fined $500 for his third violation of whipping rules during one calendar year.

The stewards ruled that Garcia had raised his arm above his shoulder while striking his mount, Mymamadontdance, during the stretch run of last Sunday's second race.

* Jockey Robert Landry will be out for about another month after being injured in a spill in the seventh race here April 18. Landry had ridden the following race on the card but has been sidelined since then.

"His ribs are bothering him," said Doug Gibbons, Landry's agent. "He went to the doctor the other day, and he needs a month off, just to let everything heal up."