06/11/2006 11:00PM

Kimchi relieves Casse's anxiety


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - On Saturday, trainer Mark Casse watched Arch Hall take over the lead in midstretch under jockey Patrick Husbands only to fall victim to a resurgent Barbeau Ruckus in the final furlong of Woodbine's 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth.

So Casse couldn't be blamed for feeling an uncomfortable touch of deja vu when Kimchi began moving to the lead in Sunday's $502,000 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles.

"I thought that from the time they straightened up going down the backstretch, she looked like a winner," said Casse. "They were rolling through that half in 46 and change, and she was just kind of loping there.

"But she made the lead so easy," he said. "It was what Arch Hall did the day before, and he pulled himself up a little bit."

Kimchi displayed a similar tendency in the closing stages of the Woodbine Oaks, but this time Husbands had the situation under control as Kimchi held on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Sweet Breanna.

One start before the Woodbine Oaks, Sweet Breanna and Kimchi had finished 1-2 in a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on May 13.

Kimchi, who scored her first stakes victory in the Woodbine Oaks, should make her next appearance in the $250,000 Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile race for at Fort Erie on July 2.

The Bison City is the second leg of the Canadian filly triple crown, which concludes with the $250,000 Wonder Where over 1 1/4 miles of turf here July 29. Although Kimchi has yet to race on grass, Casse is confident she will handle the surface.

"The way she travels reminds me a lot of Seaside Retreat," said Casse, referring to the 3-year-old colt he is pointing for the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs June 24.

Casse, in fact, took the rather unusual step of working Kimchi over the training track turf course in her second-to-last Woodbine Oaks tune-up. She was clocked in 59.80, breezing, over five furlongs.

"When you breeze her on dirt, she has a hamstring injury that bothers her," said Casse. "If the track is a little cuppy, it bothers her a little more. I wanted to see how she worked on grass, and I also was trying to be a little easier on her."

Kimchi gives owners biggest win

Kimchi's Woodbine Oaks win represented the biggest to date for the Seasoft Stable of Sal and Colleen Simeone, who acquired their first racehorse in 2003.

The Simeones and Casse also won the Grade 2, $278,750 Mazarine here in 2004 with Higher World, who retired last fall and has embarked on a new career as a broodmare for the owners at their recently acquired 280-acre Sierra Farm in Ocala.

Higher World currently is in foal to Saint Liam. The Simeones own a share in Saint Liam.

The Simeones, who live in Long Island, N.Y., currently have about a dozen horses here with Casse.

Sweet Breanna also eyeing next leg

Sweet Breanna is also expected to make her next appearance in the Bison City following her game runner-up finish under apprentice jockey Justin Stein.

"We just couldn't let Seductively go by herself," said Steve Attard, who trains Sweet Breanna for owner Les Pereira. "Nobody else was going to go with her, so we had to. I think we helped Casse's horse out."

Attard said he is also looking forward to running Sweet Breanna in the Wonder Where. In her only try on the the grass, she finished second behind subsequent stakes winner Our Madison in a one-mile maiden special last year.

"I think turf will be her real liking," said Attard.

Seductively falls short on lead

Seductively, who came into the Woodbine Oaks off a front-running score in the Grade 3 Selene over 1 1/16 miles, tried to take them all the way once again but finally gave way and had to settle for third money.

"She never got a break," said Ian Black, who trains Seductively for Kinghaven Farm. "Once we got the half in 46 and change, I thought we were probably in trouble. I'm delighted with the way she hung in there. When they run hard, you can't really be disappointed."

Black said he plans to nominate Seductively to the Bison City but will consider other options.

Malakoff, 'Shillelagh' work for Plate

Two leading contenders for the June 25 Queen's Plate worked solidly on the main track here Sunday.

Malakoff breezed five furlongs in 59.80, the best of 27 moves over the distance, with regular rider Todd Kabel in the irons.

"It was a very strong work," said Brian Lynch, who trains Malakoff for Stronach Stable. "Kabel was thrilled with him. It looks like we're on track."

Malakoff won the Grade 3 Marine at 1 1/16 miles in his last start here May 20.

Shillelagh Slew worked a mile in 1:39.80 under regular rider Dino Luciani.

"It was a big wind out there," said Mike DePaulo, who trains Shillelagh Slew for David James. "It was a bit of an aerobic exercise for him. The wind was pushing him in the face, down the lane."

Shillelagh Slew has started just once this year, winning an entry-level allowance over seven furlongs here April 29.

DePaulo said he decided Shillelagh Slew would train up to the Plate after Shillelagh Slew missed the Marine because of an illness and throat surgery.

* Apprentice rider Michelle Rainford and journeyman Sunny Singh both will be serving three-day suspensions on the Wednesday through Friday programs after the stewards found them guilty of causing interference in separate incidents last week.