04/26/2006 11:00PM

Lynch's work no longer anonymous


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Brian Lynch's name did not appear as a trainer of record for Stronach Stable at Woodbine last year.

But that doesn't take anything away from the fact that Lynch, an assistant trainer, ran the division here while his boss, Bobby Frankel, went about his business in New York and California.

And now the record has been set straight, as Lynch took over Frankel's Stronach trainees at Calder late last fall and now is the outfit's main man here with 38 horses.

"We finished up good last year, like I hoped we would," said Lynch. "When the opportunity came up to have the horses run in my name, I talked to Bobby about it. He said 'Go for it.' The Stronachs were kind enough to give me a chance."

Lynch will be sending out his third official Woodbine starter and first stakes entrant here when Record Buster runs in Saturday's Vigil.

Record Buster, a 5-year-old gelding, began his career with three consecutive victories at Aqueduct last spring but turned in two discouraging performances that summer and was put away for the season.

In his comeback race, Record Buster finished fourth in a third-level allowance over seven furlongs at Gulfstream on March 19.

"He's had a race back," said Lynch. "I know this isn't an easy spot, but it sure seems like he's doing well."

Lynch's first choice for Record Buster actually had been the 1 1/16-mile prep for the May 22 Eclipse, but that race was scrapped after failing to fill on Friday and again when carried over to Saturday.

Maiden seeks to prove Plate worthy

Malakoff, who is Team Stronach's main Queen's Plate hopeful this year, will make his first local start of the year Sunday in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special.

"I'm looking forward to running him," said Lynch. "He's quite an exciting prospect. I'm hoping this race will show us that he's on the Plate trail."

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run on June 25, just eight weeks from Sunday.

But Malakoff at least has a 1 1/8-mile race under his belt this year, having finished second over that distance in his last start at Gulfstream on April 1.

"I had lost some time with him," said Lynch. "I thought he ran very well."

Malakoff finished second in his six-furlong debut here Nov. 4 and a close third over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 4 in his only other outings.

Two Oaks prospects run well on turf

Lynch also has a pair of candidates for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks in Wedded Woman and Sprightly, both of whom captured first-level allowance races over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Gulfstream this past winter.

The Woodbine Oaks, for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run over 1 1/8 miles on the main track June 11.

"Wedded Woman won here on dirt last year," said Lynch, referring to her debut at a mile and 70 yards. "And, Sprightly hasn't raced on dirt but she works like she'd have no problem with it."

Sugar Swirl, Team Stronach's top Oaks prospect heading into this season, is in California with Frankel.

"He lost a bit of time with her," said Lynch. "She won't make the Oaks."

Sugar Swirl won the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth and finished a close third in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie in her last two starts at 2.

Shillelagh Slew preps in sprint

Shillelagh Slew, who has attracted plenty of attention on the Queen's Plate front, will be making his first start of the season in a first-level allowance at seven furlongs here Saturday.

A Quebec-bred owned by David James and trained by Mike DePaulo, Shillelagh Slew won 1 of 4 starts at 2 and finished a close third when closing out his campaign in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

"He's trained all winter; he's got a lot of good miles under him," said DePaulo, who had Shillelagh Slew at Classic Mile Farm in Ocala, Fla. "He's got a really good bottom.

"I've just been waiting for a spot for him. It didn't make sense to run six furlongs and try to put any speed into him when his main goal is the Plate."

Shillelagh Slew had his own ideas during an April 15 workout here, however, as he was clocked in 1:11.40 under regular rider Dino Luciani.

"I wanted to give him a good work, but we weren't looking to go in race time," said DePaulo. "He was chasing another horse."

Shillelagh Slew came back to breeze an easy half-mile in 50.80 seconds last Saturday.

Jockeys plan to honor Stavro

A memorial will be held for Steve Stavro on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 174 Teddington Park Avenue in Toronto.

Stavro, a prominent Ontario owner and breeder, died of a heart attack early last Monday.

Woodbine's jockey colony also will mark Stavro's passing by wearing black armbands on Saturday.

"Mr. Stavro did a lot for racing in general," said jockey Ray Sabourin. "He was a huge contributor to our jockey charity barbecues, always anonymously."

* Jennifer Morrison, Woodbine's oddsmaker and a freelance contributor to Daily Racing Form, will be hosting a free one-hour handicapping seminar beginning at 11 a.m. here Saturday on the second floor of the grandstand.