11/09/2009 12:00AM

Hollinger a good bet to buck trend in Plate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It would be logical to assume the nine-furlong Coronation Futurity, the definitive test for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds, is a good indicator for success in the Queen's Plate, but you'd have to go back to Norcliffe in 1975 and 1976 to find the last horse to win both races.

The trend won't last forever, and it could be over next year if Hollinger's roll continues.

Roger Attfield, who trained Norcliffe, is also the trainer of Hollinger, who overcame traffic problems along the inside to defeat determined front-runner Stormy Lord in Sunday's $250,800 Coronation.

"It was a tight race, and he showed a lot of heart," said Attfield. "He overcame it, and that's what good horses do."

Attfield, who got his record-tying eighth Queen's Plate victory last year with Not Bourbon, said Hollinger is more precocious than some of his other standout Plate winners, including champions With Approval, Izvestia and Peteski.

"He's probably done more than any other 2-year-old I've had," said Attfield. "With Approval and Izvestia only ran once or twice, during the latter part of the year."

Hollinger, unbeaten in four starts, is a virtual shoo-in to win the Sovereign Award for this year's Canadian champion 2-year-old. Owned and bred by Bob Harvey and Al Wortzman, he will be shipped to Florida this week to prepare for next year's Canadian Triple Crown.

"I'm going to send him back to the farm where Bob keeps his horses, where he was broken and did his early training," said Attfield. "He'll come back to me at Payson Park around the first week in January. It's easy from here. It's just a question of keeping the horse healthy and happy now."

Serenading leaves in style

In perhaps her last local start, Serenading upset reigning champion 3-year-old filly Ginger Brew in Saturday's $183,138 Maple Leaf Stakes. A 5-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy, Serenading is scheduled to be bred next year.

Sikura said Serenading could race once or twice more in the U.S. before going to the breeding shed.

"She's done all that she can do for us," said Glenn Sikura, who owns Serenading with Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings. "It's been an absolute joy to own her."

Serenading set dawdling middle fractions after assuming command on the first turn in the 1 1/4-mile Maple Leaf and scored a 2 1/4-length win under Patrick Husbands.

"When I saw [the opening quarter] in 27, I thought there was something wrong with the Teletimer, but everything worked out great," said Sikura. "Patrick did a great job. It's been a long year for her. We brought her back on hopes that she could be a champion. She probably hasn't done enough this year, but she showed a lot [in the Maple Leaf]."

Trainer Josie Carroll also trained Serenading's stakes-winning full sister Handpainted, as well as her 2-year-old half-sister by Distorted Humor, Oil Painting, who ran well in the spring before going to the sideline. Oil Painting recently began working for her return to competition.

Executive Pick done for the year

Executive Pick will miss Wednesday's $125,000 South Ocean Stakes with an undisclosed problem and has been put away for the year, according to trainer Kevin Attard.

"I was going to work her [last] Wednesday, but she came up with a problem," Attard said. "She should be fine."

Executive Pick finished second in back-to-back maiden special weight events in August and September before winning a mile and 70-yard maiden route Oct. 16.

Resentless will skip South Ocean

Resentless was the most accomplished South Ocean nominee by a mile, but she will bypass the race because it came too soon after her second-place finish in the Oct. 31 Princess Elizabeth.

"She came out of that last race really well, but it's close," said trainer Ian Howard. "Usually, when you do something that you don't think you should do, it doesn't work out."

Howard said Resentless will probably make her next start Nov. 29 in the $150,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile event for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies.

Howard's stable star Bogue Chitto, second in his last start in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes, breezed five-eighths in 59.40 on the Polytrack last Sunday. It was the fastest of 57 works at the distance.

"That's the best he's ever worked," said Howard. "He wouldn't have blown out a match after. He's really doing well."

Howard said Bogue Chitto is on target for the Grade 3, $150,000 Kennedy Road Stakes, a six-furlong dash here Nov. 21.

* A headline with a Woodbine notebook on Sunday referred incorrectly to one of trainer Mark Casse's horses. General Staff was being pointed to the $250,000 Coronation Futurity; Active Duty is preparing to race next season.