08/25/2010 11:40AM

Lucy Ring to try something different in Colleen


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Danny Vella plans to be represented in both turf stakes here this weekend, with Lucy Ring entered in Saturday’s one-mile Ontario Colleen for 3-year-old fillies and Field Commissioner slated for Sunday’s seven-furlong Play the King for 3-year-olds and upward.

The two come into their respective events with vastly different credentials, however, as Lucy Ring will be trying a new distance and surface in just her third start, while the veteran Field Commission will be returning to his preferred milieu in the Play the King.

Lucy Ring, bred in Kentucky at her owner Edward Seltzer’s Solera Farm, debuted here July 10 with a second-place finish at six furlongs. Three weeks later, Lucy Ring was a convincing winner over 6 1/2 furlongs under returning rider Emile Ramsammy, who retains the mount for the Ontario Colleen.

“She’s a lovely filly,” said Vella. “I kind of wish she had another start or two, but I think she’ll handle the distance. Going from a sprint, I hope she won’t get too racy.”

Vella also notes that Lucy Ring should get a solid dose of both turf and distance from her dam, One Emotion, who won the 1997 Wonder Where over 1 1/4 miles of turf after just missing when facing males in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ here on the same surface.

Lucy Ring prepped for the $150,000 Ontario Colleen with five furlongs in 59.20 over the turf training course here Aug. 15 and came back to breeze six furlongs in 1:14.40 on the main track last Sunday.

Field Commission, an Ontario-bred 5-year-old owned by Seltzer and Vella, finished a close second in last year’s Play the King and later recorded the biggest win of his career in the Grade 2 Nearctic over six furlongs of turf.

Also effective sprinting on Polytrack, Field Commission most recently was sent around two turns on the surface for the first time in more than two years.

“He had a gap in his schedule, so we decided to do a little experimenting,” said Vella.

The laboratory was the Aug. 8 Seagram Cup at 1 1/16 miles, and Field Commission finished third, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in a four-horse field.

“The pace was so slow, and the race was run so funny, that it didn’t really tell me a lot,” said Vella. “One good thing about it was that he came out of the race very well.”

Field Commission finished second at seven furlongs on turf here May 30 in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup. He will have Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard as he returns to that distance for the$200,000 Play the King.

“Seven furlongs on the turf might be his best race,” said Vella.

Plate winner returns to work tab

Big Red Mike, winner of this year’s Queen’s Plate, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 here Wednesday in his first workout since finishing third in the July 25 Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.

“I was very happy to see my boy back,” said Rosa da Silva, who is Big Red Mike’s regular rider and was aboard for Wednesday’s move. “I could feel the adrenaline in my veins.”

Big Red Mike worked in company with Nick Gonzalez-trained stablemate R Shining Hope, a stakes-placed 3-year-old who recorded an identical clocking.

“That was kind of to keep him a little more focused,” said Martha Gonzalez, wife and assistant to Gonzalez. “He came back nice and happy.”

Big Red Mike is scheduled to return to action in the $150,000 Ontario Derby, a 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds here Sept. 25.

Two options for Golden Moka

Golden Moka, the Prince of Wales winner, had been under consideration for Saturday’s Travers but now is scheduled to make his next appearance in either the Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park or the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.

Both Grade 2 races will be run on Sept. 25 at 1 1/8 miles, with the Pennsylvania Derby offering a purse of $1 million and the Super Derby a pot of $500,000.

“I wanted to give him a little more time,” said Brian Lynch, who trains Golden Moka for Good Friends Stable. “If Looking at Lucky goes to the Pennsylvania Derby it might be a small field, and we may take a shot there.

“The Super Derby noms are already out there, and it certainly looks like he fits well.”

Lynch also reports that Bay to Bay, who would have been a logical candidate for the Ontario Colleen, is getting a breather. She finished ninth after breaking from post 12 in Saratoga’s Lake George over 1 1/16 miles of turf on July 28.

“She’s getting a little freshening off that last race,” said Lynch.

He is considering running Bay to Bay in the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares here Sept. 19, or the Grade 3, $250,000 Selene for 3-year-old fillies goes over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack on Sept. 26.

No Explaining works for Colleen

No Explaining, who was scratched from last Sunday’s Lake Placid at Saratoga when it was taken off the turf, breezed four furlongs in 48 here Wednesday morning in preparation for the Ontario Colleen.

Working with Roger Attfield-trained stablemate Miss Keller, No Explaining had jockey Tyler Pizarro in the irons but will be ridden in the Ontario Colleen by Chantal Sutherland.

Miss Keller, under Rosa da Silva, also was clocked in 48 and was slated to ship out Thursday morning for Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Ballston Spa at Saratoga over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Saratoga.

Their stablemate Mekong Melody, also bound for the Ballston Spa, breezed four furlongs in 48 while going on her own under exercise rider Melanie Giddings.

Other Attfield runners who prepped for upcoming stakes include Spice Route, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 while going in company with maiden stablemate Perfect Cherokee, who was timed in 1:01.60 Spice Route is headed for the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward here Sept. 19.”