07/09/2008 11:00PM

Marlang out to show he's the real deal in Toronto Cup


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Marlang was 10-1 when he rolled to a 2 3/4-length victory in the Charlie Barley Stakes at one mile on turf at Woodbine on June 21.

On Saturday, Marlang will be looking to confirm that he's the real thing in the $150,000 Toronto Cup at 1 1/8 miles on the same surface.

The $150,000 Toronto Cup serves as a stepping-stone to the $500,000 Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race here Aug. 3, which is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Marlang, one of just two Canadian-breds in the Toronto Cup's field of eight, is owned and bred by Gustav Schickedanz and trained by Deborah England. Schickedanz's other horses here are all with trainer Mike Keogh.

"Gustav said he was going to give me one horse, and he picked out this one," said England. "I loved him right from the time I got him."

Marlang, a Langfuhr colt, made two starts for England at Woodbine last fall, ending on the fringes each time in some difficult maiden company.

"He was really big, and was quite a nervous horse," said England. "He took a bit of time to come around."

Marlang spent the time coming around in South Carolina during the off-season with Keogh at the Schickedanz spread, and then returned to England this spring.

In his first start back, which came in a "B" maiden special at seven furlongs here May 7, Marlang turned heads with a six-length victory.

Visions of a Queen's Plate run followed, but they ended when Marlang, stretching out to 1 1/8 miles for a difficult first-level allowance on May 24, got off to a poor start and finished sixth.

"He came back full of mucus," said England. "We'd talked about the Plate, but he really wasn't going to be ready to run a mile and a quarter.

"And I'd always wanted to try him on grass. I'd tried to run him on the grass last year, in his first start, but it rained and the race came off."

So Marlang wound up in the Charlie Barley, on the day before the Queen's Plate, and fulfilled England's wish.

"I thought he'd run really big," said England. "He's got a lot of speed but he's getting better. He's settling more. He just goes out and works. He's very focused and mature. He takes it really seriously."

Richard Dos Ramos, who has been Marlang's only race rider to date, goes back a long way with England.

They go back so far, in fact, that Dos Ramos rode England's first stakes winner - Diva's Debut in the $30,000 John Reading at the Meadowlands in December 1989.

Diva's Debut scored her third consecutive victory in the Reading that year and went on to extend her win streak to six the following spring at Woodbine, with all of her victories coming under Dos Ramos, en route to a title as Canada's outstanding filly or mare in 1990.

Secret Getaway, who shipped up from Arlington to win the June 8 Victoria Park in his first try around two turns, will be returning to try turf for the first time in the Toronto Cup.

Trained by Michael Stidham, Secret Getaway won the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park by three-quarters of a length and again will have local rider Emma-Jayne Wilson in the irons.

"He's been doing fine," said assistant trainer Hilary Pridham, who will accompany Secret Getaway to Woodbine. "We gave him a work on the turf last week, to see if he liked it, and he seemed to handle it okay. We'll have to see if he can transfer his Polytrack form into turf racing."

Prince of Wales has company

While the main focus will be on the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on Sunday, there is a good feature at Woodbine in the $150,000 Shady Well, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies that attracted a field of 10.

Cawaja Beach, trained by Scott Fairlie, won her only start and could be the filly to beat - but she also could face serious challenges from winners Sans Sousi and Black Napkins and the promising maiden Poppins.

On Wednesday, the $125,000 Deputy Minister, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds, will be in the spotlight

Stuck in Traffic, who notched his second stakes win of the season in his last start, in the Bold Ruckus at six furlongs on turf here June 11, will be a solid choice in the Deputy Minister.

Nick Gonzalez, who trains Stuck in Traffic, also plans to send out Delaforce, who won a restricted second-level allowance at the Deputy Minister distance last time out.

Marina Ballerina wins Repercussion

Despite shedding the blinkers, Marina Ballerina flashed her usual early foot and kept on going to capture the $103,800 Repercussion Stakes here Wednesday night.

Marina Ballerina set fractions of 22.60 and 45.30 seconds on an uncontested lead and won by 3 1/4 lengths despite bearing out in the stretch. She covered the 6 1/2 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:15.70 under Justin Stein.

After missing the break, Glitter Rox rallied wide to edge Second Offense by a neck for second. Favored Quelle Beaute finished sixth in the 11-horse field of fillies and mares.

Marina Ballerina ($16.90) won $60,000 for owner Robert Pastor and trainer Sam DiPasquale.

"She's probably the fastest filly I've ever trained," said DiPasquale. "We wanted her to settle down a little more, so we worked her without the blinkers and she was just fine."

The Repercussion is a prep for the Grade 3 Royal North, a six-furlong turf race for fillies and mares here Aug. 2.

* Woodbine's website will begin offering weekly columns from some of its Thoroughbred and Standardbred television commentators. The Thoroughbred side will feature Elissa Blowe, Jeff Bratt, Chris Connor, and Renee Kierans. Website visitors also will be able to offer opinions through polls, a forum, and a feedback function.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink