04/23/2009 11:00PM

Heart of a King hot on Poly

Michael Burns
Parabola, seen on the track at Woodbine on Friday morning, will point to next Saturday's Queenston after suffering an adverse reaction to Lasix on Tuesday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Michael Pino, who was based here through the latter weeks of 2008 and set up a full-time division here this spring, will be looking for his first local stakes win Sunday.

Pino's ace is Heart of a King, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old gelding who will be facing six rivals in the $150,000 Woodstock at six furlongs.

Heart of a King is owned by David Ross, who also has horses with Pino at Delaware Park and with Daniel Smithwick in Kentucky.

After finishing fifth for Pino in his five-furlong debut at Delaware on Sept. 9, Heart of a King was sent to Smithwick and put together back-to-back wins over the Polytrack surfaces at Turfway Park and Keeneland.

"I'd trained him on the dirt, and he was average," said Pino, who has 16 stalls here. "I ran him there to see if that would wake him up, but that didn't work.

"So, we decided to send him to Turfway. He just loved the Poly; he was a different horse."

Heart of a King won his maiden over 5 1/2 furlongs in Kentucky on March 6, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

Four weeks later, Heart of a King captured a first-level allowance over seven furlongs at Keeneland, good for an 84 Beyer, before heading north to Pino.

"Training him on this surface, I just can't believe he's the same horse," Pino said.

Parabola suffers bad reaction to Lasix

Parabola, who had been scheduled to take his first step toward the June 21 Queen's Plate in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile Wando, has been redirected to next Saturday's seven-furlong Queenston after throwing a major scare into his connections the other day.

"Everything had been going great," said Barbara Minshall, who trains Parabola for owner/breeder Janet Jeanpierre. "He was training so well; I was really looking forward to running him.

"But then I was working him Tuesday, and he had a bad reaction to Lasix."

Jockey Justin Stein, who had guided Parabola to a maiden win over a mile and 70 yards and a repeat victory in the 1 1/16-mile Kingarvie here last fall, was aboard for the scheduled workout.

"Justin knew right away that there was something wrong and pulled him up," Minshall said.

"We were very worried; his [Parabola's] heart was racing. But we checked him out thoroughly, and in a couple of hours he seemed fine."

Still, the experience was enough to rule out the Wando and await the Queenston.

"That's Plan B right now," said Minshall, who intends to breeze Parabola on Sunday.

Heading the prospective field for the Queenston is El Brujo, an 8 3/4-length winner when making his seasonal bow for trainer Malcolm Pierce in the six-furlong Achievement here April 11.

Off that performance, El Brujo currently ranks as the top local candidate for the $1 million, 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Rapid Release opts for allowance

Rapid Release, the only Canadian-bred in the Wando lineup, also was entered in a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles here Sunday and will opt for that spot as his first local prep for the Queen's Plate.

"When the A-other than went, I decided to run him there," trainer Roger Attfield said.

"He's running against older horses, but it should be an easier race than the Wando. I just think at this point in time, it would be better for him.

"He ran enough as a 2-year-old, so I'm not worried about that point."

Rapid Release started seven times in England last year, including a pair of second-place finishes in as many starts on synthetic surfaces.

In his North American debut and fist start for Attfield, Rapid Release finished a closing fourth in a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Keeneland.

Forcefully eyes start in Fury

Next Sunday's feature is the Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled fillies that is a stepping-stone to the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 7.

One filly who could be looking to move herself into the Oaks picture is Forcefully, a Kinghaven homebred trained by Ian Black.

"We'll see how she trains and who shows up," Black said.

Forcefully was successful in her only start here last fall but then finished last of seven when returning in the La Voyageuse here opening day. Both races were over five furlongs.

"Her last race was just a fitness thing," said Black, noting that Forcefully had wintered with him at nearby Kinghaven Farm.

"She made a move on the turn, up on the outside, but in the last eighth of a mile she just ran out of conditioning."

The Fury field is expected to include High Mist and Pretty Katherine, the respective third- and fourth-place finishers when also making their seasonal bows in the La Voyageuse.

* Wednesday evening racing returns to Woodbine this week, with first post set for 6:45 p.m. This Wednesday also will feature the year's first monthly meeting of the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club, beginning at 8 p.m. in the third-floor Champions area.

* The entry box is open for the 15th annual Tournament of Champions, which will be held June 1 at the Deerfield Golf & Recreation Centre in Oakville. The entry fee, which includes green fees, golf cart, driving range, and both lunch and dinner, is $95 per person if received by April 30 and $105 afterward. The registration fee is due by May 22.

For more information, or to register, contact Wendy Muir at (416) 675-3993, ext. 2596.