05/02/2007 12:00AM

Limosano emerges as Queen's Plate contender


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Heading into the current season, Easterman was seen as the most likely Queen's Plate candidate in trainer Mike DePaulo's barn here at Woodbine.

Easterman, a winner of his only start at 2, earned a trip to Florida to commence his preparations for the $1 million Queen's Plate, the 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds that will be run here June 24.

Limosano, like Easterman a 3-year-old gelding owned by Frank Romano and trained by DePaulo, also won his only outing as a 2-year-old but was kept home in Ontario with more modest goals.

Easterman, however, hit a snag following his first race at Gulfstream and is on the farm, his Queen's Plate hopes dashed.

Meanwhile, Limosano returned with a strong second-place finish in a five-furlong Ontario-sired entry-level allowance here April 13. Limosano bobbled at the start and rallied up the rail under rider Justin Stein.

"He stumbled and grabbed a quarter," DePaulo said. "He ran real good. He's an honest horse; he tries."

And now Limosano will take up the Plate chase for Romano and DePaulo as he makes his stakes debut in Saturday's $150,000 Queenston, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.

Limosano, a son of Canadian champion sprinter One Way Love, was purchased for $10,000 at the local mixed sale.

"He's a nice little horse," DePaulo said. "He's training good. You can't take anything away from him."

Limosano had his major tune-up for the Queenston here last Saturday, matching strides with stablemate Bad Hat through six furlongs in 1:15.

Bad Hat, a 4-year-old colt who is a multiple stakes winner in Ontario-sired company, is slated to make his seasonal bow in the $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here May 12.

Grandy's Glory set for Fury

DePaulo also has a candidate for Sunday's stakes headliner as Grandy's Glory is headed for the $150,000 Fury.

The seven-furlong Fury, for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies, is a stepping-stone to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 10.

Grandy's Glory, also Ontario-sired, won the restricted six-furlong Fanfreluche here last fall and began her current campaign with a game win in a 5 1/2-furlong second-level allowance.

The Woodbine Oaks, for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run over 1 1/8 miles.

"We're sort of up in the air about the Oaks," DePaulo said.

"I ran her once long last year, and she never had a chance. She was coming off the best race of her life and coming back so quickly."

In her lone try around two turns, which came 11 days after the Fanfreluche in the 1 1/16-mile South Ocean, Grandy's Glory broke poorly and faltered to finish last in the field of seven.

Shillelagh Slew targets Eclipse

Shillelagh Slew, Canada's champion 3-year-old male last year for DePaulo, finished fourth in his first start in almost seven months here in last Saturday's seven-furlong Vigil. With regular rider Dino Luciani in the irons, Shillelagh Slew trailed early in the field of six and was beaten by 2 3/4 lengths.

"It ended up being more like a work," DePaulo said. "He was kind of spinning his wheels a little bit early, but he closed good.

"Maybe we weren't going to get there anyway with the slow pace. But the race should do him good when he's going a mile and a sixteenth."

The Grade 3, $150,000 Eclipse, a 1 1/16-mile race here May 21, is Shillelagh Slew's next target.

Strong field for maiden special

Nine races will be offered here Friday, and the most interesting is the $66,000 finale, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special for fillies and mares that has attracted some promising 3-year-olds.

Leading contenders include Serenading, who is trained by Josie Carroll, and Dance With Doves and Forever Red, both owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad.

Serenading, a full sister to the multiple stakes winner Handpainted, has finished second in each of her two races, including her local debut over 6 1/2 furlongs on April 8.

The winner of that race, Silky Smooth, returned to finish second in the Star Shoot.

Dance with Doves, the first foal of Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks winner Dancethruthedawn, is making her debut.

Forever Red has turned in encouraging efforts in each of her two starts, the first coming over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Fair Grounds and the second over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack at Keeneland.

Derby Day wagering, seminar

Advance wagering on Saturday's Kentucky Derby program from Churchill Downs will be available beginning at 3 p.m. Friday at all Woodbine Entertainment Group outlets.

Pick three, pick four, and pick six wagering will not be available until the conclusion of Friday's Churchill Downs card, at about 7 p.m.

Jeff Bratt of the Woodbine television department will sub for an ailing Jennifer Morrison as host of a free one-hour handicapping seminar beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday on the second floor of the Woodbine grandstand.

Bratt's guests will include trainer Ian Black and Daily Racing Form handicapper Ron Gierkink.

Mike Fox, who checked in from Florida and joined Black's string late last week, had his first local workout of the season here Wednesday, breezing four furlongs in 48 seconds under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"I thought he went great," Black said. "Emma was very happy with him. He didn't roar away from the pole; he went nice and even."

Mike Fox won 2 of 4 starts last year for trainer Reade Baker and spent the winter in Florida with trainer Cliff Hopmans, finishing a troubled fourth in his lone appearance at Tampa Bay Downs.

* Patrick Husbands will be at Churchill Downs on Friday to ride Sealy Hill in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks. Sealy Hill, trained by Mark Casse, is one of the early favorites for the Woodbine Oaks.