04/04/2007 11:00PM

Katryan handling Kelynack horses again

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Abraham Katryan is back as part of the Kelynack Racing Stable picture here at Woodbine.

Katryan had trained for Kelynack in the first three years of the outfit's existence, but owner Glenn Harvey elected to take a different route last year, leaving Katryan with just a couple of horses owned in partnership.

The team seemed set to reunite on a positive note here last Saturday, when Quick in Deed led well into the stretch before faltering to finish third in the 5 1/2-furlong allowance prep for the Jacques Cartier Stakes.

Quick in Deed, winner of two sprint stakes for Katryan as a 3-year-old, was trained last year by Sid Attard.

Katryan, who has seven Kelynack runners in total, also is looking for good things from Gilded Coin, an allowance-caliber 5-year-old, and Play for Kings, a lightly raced 4-year-old maiden.

Earlier on Saturday's opening-day program, Katryan sent out his first winner of the season when Timely Closure scored by 10 1/4 lengths in a $20,000 maiden claimer.

Owned by one of Katryan's nephews, Ken Katryan, Timely Closure had failed to hit the board in five starts at 2.

"She was working good," said Katryan. "I was expecting her to run a big race. She had some issues when she was 2. Horses change from year to year."

Bruno Schickedanz, a longtime Katryan client, again is a major contributor to the trainer's 38-horse string here, with veterans Biblical Times (who is entered Saturday) and Biblical Scholar among his horses.

An interesting Schickedanz newcomer is the homebred Awake by Noon, a 2-year-old colt who could be the first starter for his sire, Wake at Noon.

Awake by Noon, who is out of the Steady Growth mare Keen Haley, had his first breeze last week.

"He's doing well," said Katryan.

Wake at Noon, a 10-year-old who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2002, returned from a brief retirement following a stint at stud a couple of years ago, but was sent home for good after being ineffective in three starts here last fall.

Paul Attard has half-dozen

Paul Attard, who was one of Kelynack's new trainers last year, has six horses for the outfit, including the stakes-caliber Sheer Enchantment and Ever So Free.

"I also have some 3-year-old fillies that haven't run yet but should be okay, and some 2-year-olds that haven't come in yet," said Attard.

Sheer Enchantment, a 6-year-old mare whose specialty is turf, became a stakes winner for Attard when she defeated mixed company in the Halton here last September. The Halton, a yearling sales stakes, was run over one mile of good turf.

Ever So Free, a 5-year-old gelding who was trained last year by Reade Baker, finished second to invader Gouldings Green in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup in July. The 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup was run over the converted seven-furlong Standardbred oval, which was used while Polytrack was being installed here.

Preps fall out of favor

Stakes preps are a tough sell, particularly at this time of year.

"They're tough all year long," said Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary. "Not that many want to run in preps anymore."

Of four stakes preps offered through the first four days of the meeting, only the prep for the April 14 Jacques Cartier, which attracted eight entrants, saw the light of day. A total of 16 horses were nominated to the $125,000 Jacques Cartier, a six-furlong race for 4-year-olds and upward.

Last Sunday's scheduled feature, an allowance for fillies and mares that was the prep for the April 15 Whimsical, was scrapped after attracting only three entrants. Only 13 horses were nominated to the $125,000 Whimsical, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Two stakes preps offered for this Easter weekend also failed to make the cut.

Friday's Woodstock prep, for 3-year-olds, drew three entrants. The Star Shoot prep, for 3-year-old fillies, was carried over after drawing three entrants for Saturday and shelved when four fillies were entered for Sunday.

"The preps for straight 3-year-olds are very tough to fill," said Lym. "Lots of them can run in an a-other-than, and you even see maidens running in the early 3-year-old stakes."

The six-furlong Woodstock will be run here April 21, with the six-furlong Star Shoot set for the following afternoon.

Both the Woodstock and the Star Shoot are open stakes, offering purses of $125,000.

Keeneland connections

Pellegrino, a stakes-winning 8-year-old trained by Roger Attfield, will make his seasonal bow at Keeneland on Saturday in a money allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Other horses on the Keeneland card with Woodbine connections include Final Melody, a 4-year-old filly trained by Malcolm Pierce who brings good form into a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles on turf, and Dynamite Eyes, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly who debuts after some strong workouts for trainer Mark Frostad in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special.