05/08/2008 11:00PM

Harlem Rocker heads Plate hopefuls


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The final nominations stage for the $1 million Queen's Plate and the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks closed May 1, and the lists were released on Friday.

Pending any radically delayed mail entries, a total of 57 horses remained eligible for the June 22 Queen's Plate and 45 for the June 8 Woodbine Oaks.

But there is still the possibility of surprises as entry-day supplements for both races will be allowed for the first time this year.

Heading the list of horses heading for the Queen's Plate is Harlem Rocker, who is owned by Stronach Stable and trained in the United States by Todd Pletcher.

Harlem Rocker, undefeated in three starts, including Aqueduct's Grade 3 Withers over one mile, could "prep" for the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate in Saturday's $1 million Preakness.

Maren's Meadow, trained by Larry Jones, could have her final tune-up for the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks in Friday's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan over the same distance at Pimlico.

A late nominee to the Woodbine Oaks at the May 1 deadline at a cost of $2,500, Maren's Meadow won Turfway Park's Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks over one mile in her last start May 22.

Currently, the horse to beat in the Woodbine Oaks is Ginger Brew, also owned by the Stronachs but trained here by Brian Lynch.

Winner of the Calder Oaks over 1 1/8 miles on turf in her last start April 26, Ginger Brew has been training at nearby Adena Springs North but was scheduled to ship to Woodbine this weekend.

Ginger Brew is nominated to next Sunday's Grade 3, $250,000 Selene, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, but Lynch said Friday that she will be heading straight to the Woodbine Oaks.

Saturday's feature, the Grade 3, $150,000 Marine, is an open race for 3-year-olds which looms as an important stepping-stone to the Queen's Plate.

Giquere, who is coming off a second-place finish here in the 1 1/16-mile Wando on April 25 for trainer Mike DePaulo, is expected to be one of the leading Canadian-breds in the Marine.

Dance to My Tune starting year

Dance to My Tune, a Sovereign Award finalist in the 3-year-old filly division last year, will be making her seasonal bow in the Sunday's $150,000 Hendrie, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Owned by her trainer, Dave Cotey, in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith, Dance to My Tune won the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette and the seven-furlong Jammed Lovely while earning $352,945 from 12 starts in 2007.

After winding up that campaign in late November, Dance to My Tune wintered at nearby Huntington Farm along with the bulk of the Cotey runners.

"She had a little problem this spring," said Cotey. "She had a pus pocket, which put us back about a week or 10 days, so we've just been taking our time with her.

"She's ready now - she's got to run."

Dance to My Tune underscored that point by breezing five furlongs in 59.20 seconds here Monday under regular rider Constant Montpellier.

"I let her work along," said Cotey, who caught Dance to My Tune galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.80. "She did it pretty easy."

Cotey is hoping the Hendrie will be the prelude to another productive campaign for Dance to My Tune.

"After this we'll probably start going in longer races," said Cotey, who is looking forward to seeing Dance to My Tune return to the turf.

"She ran a good race on turf, last year."

Dance to My Tune's only grass race to date yielded a second-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Carotene, which was run over "good" going.

No race mounts for Kabel

Where's Kabel?

Todd Kabel, a seven-time Sovereign Award winner, hasn't ridden in a race at the current Woodbine meet.

Kabel, 42, cut short his 2007 campaign in mid-November when he tired of the constant battle against weight.

And, although he was here galloping horses for a week last month and was named on a couple of horses one weekend, Kabel has since gone back into seclusion and isn't talking.

"He's having weight problems," said John Bell, longtime jockey agent for Kabel. "It's been cool - the weather's against him."

Commission alters some rules

The Ontario Racing Commission has announced some minor changes to rules it introduced this past winter.

At a meeting on April 24, the commission changed the implementation date of a rule that requires trainers to name their primary veterinarians from June 1, 2008, to Jan. 1, 2009.

Trainers will be required to use only veterinarians licensed by the racing commission for any prescription or treatment of a racehorse.

A rule requiring former owners to provide certain medical records on request when a horse changes hands also was amended.

An agent of the former owner, such as a trainer, now can also provide the information. The time frame within which such a request can be made also has been changed, from one week to 30 days.

Changes to the death registry rules also were approved, providing the racing commission with increased discretion in ordering a postmortem for any horse who dies after being entered to race or working out.

* The turf training track is scheduled to open on Wednesday, weather permitting. The regular schedule for turf training will be Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with the first turf race of the season slated to take place this Friday.

* The University Guelph's veterinary college has organized a summit on racing safety for Thoroughbreds. The meeting will take place here Wednesday and includes representatives from Colorado State University and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.