08/13/2007 11:00PM

Katryan seeks first 2007 stakes win


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Abraham Katryan has been on a roll again lately, sending out 4 winners from 8 starters last week to take over third place in the trainer standings with 32 winners heading into Wednesday's program at Woodbine.

But one thing that would make Katryan's season even sweeter is a stakes winner, and Sheer Enchantment will be looking to give him just that in Sunday's $125,000 Victoriana.

A 6-year-old owned by Glenn Harvey's Kelynack Racing Stable, Sheer Enchantment began her career with Katryan but was transferred last year to trainer Paul Attard.

Sheer Enchantment finished second in the 2006 Victoriana behind subsequent divisional champion Financingavailable, who looms as the horse to beat on Sunday in the Victoriana, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

A $10,000 purchase by trainer Mark Casse at the open 2002 yearling sale, Sheer Enchantment was bought privately for Kelynack by Katryan and was eligible for the yearling sales stakes series.

The Halton, a yearling sales stakes for 3-year-olds and up, had been shortened to a mile on the turf last year, and Sheer Enchantment won it to become a stakes winner for Attard two weeks after the Victoriana.

Sheer Enchantment began her 2007 campaign with Attard. But but after a fourth-place finish in an open allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on turf here June 29, the mare was returned to Katyran's care.

In her first start back with Katryan, Sheer Enchantment was the 9-5 favorite in an open allowance race at one mile on turf and ran a nonthreatening fifth.

"I was a little disappointed with the way she ran," said Katryan. "There was enough speed in the race. She just didn't really kick in the way she was supposed to.

"Since then, we've worked toward this race. I think we'll have a better gauge of her this time. And, if she comes out really good, we'll think about running her back in the Halton."

The Halton, along with five other $125,000 yearling sales stakes, will be run at Woodbine on Sept. 3.

Stonetown: Sprint or route?

Katryan has 37 horses at Woodbine, including another yearling sales stakes candidate in Stonetown, an Ontario-sired 4-year-old gelding who is owned by John and Mary Brown's Spring Farm and Robert Dabdoub's Racing Canada Inc.

Stonetown, who is riding the crest of three straight victories, could start in either the six-furlong Kenora for 3-year-olds and up or the 1 1/16-mile Elgin for colts and geldings in the same age range.

"In his first race back this year, he tried to roll in the gate," said Katryan. "We schooled him a bit, and the rest is history."

That brief but unblemished history consists of wins in restricted first-level and second-level allowances, plus a victory in an open first-level allowance last time out.

Stonetown's last two victories were at seven furlongs, which is the longest distance he has attempted to date.

"I don't think distance will be an issue," said Katryan. "The way he's won his last couple, I think he'll want to go two turns. I don't think he needs the lead; he's rateable."

A $17,000 buy-back at the select yearling sale in 2004, Stonetown was unraced at 2 and started twice for Katryan last year, winning his maiden for $40,000 in his second outing before being put away for the season.

"He had to have a chip taken out of a knee," said Katryan.

Stonetown was back in his barn in mid-May, after spending the winter in Florida.

"He's grown a little bit and was more laid back; he handled himself well," said Katryan. "In general, he's a nice horse to work with. He's all business."

Stuck in Traffic gives Gonzalez options

Trainer Nick Gonzalez removed the blinkers from Stuck in Traffic for Sunday's six-furlong Vandal in hopes of getting the colt to be less aggressive; the colt burned himself out in the 5o1/2-furlong Clarendon.

"I got David Clark to come over and breeze him, twice," said Gonzalez, who trains Stuck in Traffic for his wife, Martha Gonzalez, and the MAD Racing Stable. "We took the blinkers off, and let him relax behind horses."

Whether Stuck in Traffic responded to the changes is still open to interpretation, but the result of the $152,000 Vandal was not. He led throughout for a 1 1/4-length victory with Clark in the irons.

"This is a real good horse, but he's very headstrong," said Gonzalez. "I hope he can harness that speed.

"He's really a laid-back horse, but when he gets in competition he just wants to go."

Stuck in Traffic was part of a three-horse package of 2-year-olds purchased privately by Gonzalez from owner and breeder Barbara Minshall in Ocala, Fla.

Gonzalez sold an interest in Stuck in Traffic to the MAD men, who also are partners with Martha Gonzalez in Wholelottabourbon, Canada's champion 2-year-old male of 2004.

Stuck in Traffic, an Ontario-sired son of Kiridashi, now has won 2 of 4 starts and $130,900.

"There's some turf in the breeding and a little distance," said Gonzalez. "I'm going to have a lot of options."

The $125,000 Bull Page, a six-furlong race here Oct. 13, the first Ontario-sired stakes for the division, is a logical target for Stuck in Traffic.

In the meantime, Gonzalez will be looking at the Summer Stakes prep, a seven-furlong allowance race on the turf here Aug. 24, and the $100,000 Silver Deputy, an overnight stakes at 6o1/2 furlongs on the main track Aug.o25.

Sky Conqueror tunes up for Nijinsky

Sky Conqueror, winner of the Grade 2 Northern Dancer at 1 1/2 miles on the turf here July 22, breezed for the first time since on Tuesday, going four furlongs in 50.20 seconds on the training track under exercise rider Peter Yearwood.

"He galloped out very nicely and came back good," said Darwin Banach, who trains Sky Conqueror for owner and breeder Bill Sorokolit.

"There was no point in working him earlier, when we decided we weren't going anywhere," Banach said. "This gives us one more breeze before the Nijinsky, and away we go."

The Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky, a 1o1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up, will be run here Aug. 26.