08/24/2006 11:00PM

Jambalaya stays home for Nijinsky


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Jamba-laya's connections declined an invitation to Saratoga's Grade 1 Sword Dancer on Aug. 12 in order to focus on the horse's ultimate goal, the $2 million Canadian International on Oct. 22 here at Woodbine.

On Sunday, Jambalaya will be looking to keep the home fires burning when he runs in the Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky, over the same 1 1/2-mile distance as the Grade 1 Canadian International.

"He's been training great," said Catherine Day Phillips, who trains Jambalaya for her Kingfield Farm. "That made it a hard decision, not going into the Sword Dancer. When you're at the top of your game, you want to try greener pastures. But it really made more sense to stay here."

Jambalaya, coming off a third-place finish in the Grade 2, $700,000 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles on soft turf at Woodbine on July 23, will be looking to get back in the groove while making his fifth appearance of the year in the Nijinsky.

"He tried hard last time, but I don't think it was his preferred going," said Day Phillips.

"He wasn't on the bridle, as he normally was. He doesn't like it when it's too soft. He's run well when there's a little bit of give to the ground, and when he won the Breeders' it was hard as concrete."

Jambalaya, an Ontario-bred 4-year-old gelding, recorded his first stakes win in last year's 1 1/2-mile Breeders', then doubled up in the Grade 3 Saranac over 1 3/16 miles on turf at Saratoga.

Jambalaya's third stakes score came in his third start this year, when he defeated Last Answer in the Singspiel at 1 1/2 miles on the turf in June.

Last Answer came back to finish second in the Northern Dancer and also is in the Nijinsky lineup.

Meanwhile, Jambalaya tuned up for the Nijinsky by breezing five furlongs under regular rider Jono Jones in 1:01, the fastest of 34 works over the training track here on Aug. 19.

"I was very pleased with his breeze last weekend," said Day Phillips.

Jambalaya worked on Lasix and will be racing with that medication for the first time while making the 13th start of his career in the Nijinsky.

Big day for Sam-Son and Frostad

Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad will be represented in two stakes on Sunday, with Shoal Water in the Nijinsky and High Button Shoes slated to run in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga.

Shoal Water, a 6-year-old gelding, will be making only his third start since July 2004 in the Nijinsky. He finished a close fourth in the King Edward on July 3 and a remote fourth in the Northern Dancer.

"He probably bounced in his second race," said Frostad. "He had just 20 days between races after missing two years.

"We expect better from him Sunday."

High Button Shoes will be making her Grade 1 debut in the Ballerina, a $250,000 race for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

"She's doing well, so we'll take a shot," said Frostad. "It's a good race."

A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, High Button Shoes won the Grade 3 Hendrie here May 14, then shipped to Belmont for the Grade 2 Vagrancy and ran second. Both of those races were at 6 1/2 furlongs.

In her only subsequent start, High Button Shoes disappointed as the favorite when fourth in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too here July 2.

Eibar Coa, who rode High Button Shoes at Belmont, will be back aboard for the Ballerina.

French Beret works toward Saranac

Shoal Water won the Grade 3 Saranac in 2003 and Sam-Son and Frostad will be looking to duplicate that feat this year with French Beret.

The $100,000 Saranac, a 1 3/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, will be run Sept. 3.

French Beret, who became a stakes winner in the Toronto Cup at 1 1/8 miles of turf here July 15 and then finished second, beaten a neck, in the Breeders', worked five furlongs on the training turf course Friday morning.

Todd Kabel was aboard as French Beret was clocked in 1:00.80 along with workmate Colorful King, a 4-year-old maiden owned by Sam-Son.

Essential Edge breezes

Essential Edge, a candidate for the $125,000 Ontario Colleen here next Saturday, breezed five furlongs on the turf in 1:00.80 here Friday.

The Ontario Colleen is a one-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.

Owned by Chiefswood Stable and trained by Eric Coatrieux, Essential Edge finished third last time out in the Ontario Colleen prep.

Vice Regent runners work

Also on Friday's training track turf tab were Pyramid Park, Bad Hat and Another Ascot, all of whom are eyeing next Sunday's $125,000 Vice Regent.

The Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race, is for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Pyramid Park, who finished last of 10 in the Breeders' but won the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of turf here last fall, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80.

Bad Hat and Another Ascot, working in company for trainer Mike DePaulo, matched strides through five furlongs in 1:00.

Owned by a group including Gerry Belanger, George Farr, and DePaulo, Bad Hat is coming off a fourth-place finish behind older rivals in an open allowance race at 7 1/2 furlongs.

Another Ascot, owned by California Stable, won a first-level Ontario-sired allowance over six furlongs of turf in his latest.

Summer Girlfriend runs sixth

Summer Girlfriend, owned by Allen Abbott and based here with trainer John Charalambous, finished sixth in Thursday's Grade 3 Victory Ride at Saratoga.

Summer Girlfriend was beaten a total of 6 1/4 lengths in a wide trip in the six-furlong Victory Ride. Summer Girlfriend had won the six-furlong Star Shoot at Woodbine in April.