07/06/2003 11:00PM

Megan's Appeal looking like a bargain


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Some fresh faces got to bask in the glory of their first stakes win Sunday at Woodbine after Megan's Appeal romped to victory in the $164,550 Shady Well.

Megan's Appeal, who was making only her second career appearance, is owned by Fire Rock Stable, a partnership comprising Oscar Battilana, Joe Chircop, and Rocco Oppedisano.

Her trainer, Kevin Attard, had purchased the filly at auction for $8,000 at the Adena Springs 2-year-old sale in Ocala in March, and she had finished second, beaten a nose, in her debut here May 24.

"The owners flew down with me and wanted me to pick them out a horse," said Attard. "We were prepared to pay a lot more for her. She was very eye-catching."

Megan's Appeal was one of three horses acquired by Attard at that venue.

Gold Gunner, a $5,500 buy who races for the trainer in partnership with Max Berketa, ran third in his first lifetime start, here in the June 28 Clarendon.

Lion Leader, an $11,000 purchase who races for Six Brothers Stable, finished third when debuting in a maiden special weight, also on June 28.

Attard, 27, left his position as assistant to his father, Tino Attard, to work as a farm trainer at Adena Springs North, the Stronach Stable base in nearby Aurora, Ontario, in June 2001.

Attard saddled his first two stakes winners for Stronach Stable that year, winning the Nandi with Jade Eyed in July and the Summer with El Soprano in September.

In the spring of 2002 Attard relocated to Fort Erie, where he trained for Stronach Stable among other clients, but his dealings with the Stronach outfit came to an end last fall and he returned to Woodbine to set up a public stable.

"I'm slowly building up a stable," said Attard, who now has six horses here and another six on the farm. And he has certainly taken a step forward with Megan's Appeal.

"I'll probably lay back with her a little bit," said Attard. "I'll gear her up for the Princess Elizabeth; that will be her main target."

The $250,000 Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies, will be run here Oct. 12. "She's done everything right so far," said Attard. "I don't see why she wouldn't stretch out."

* Megan's Appeal's win also came at an opportune time for jockey Simon Husbands. It was his third stakes score since moving his tack here in 2000.

Husbands will be serving a three-day suspension, Wednesday through Friday.

Queen's Plate winner Wando breezes

Wando breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 Sunday, his first work since dominating the $1 million, Queen's Plate for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz and trainer Mike Keogh here June 22.

Patrick Husbands who rode Wando for the first time in the Plate, was aboard for the drill.

"I didn't want him to do too much," said Keogh. "He just went nice and easy, came home his last quarter in 24 and change."

Wando heads a list of 11 nominees for the $500,000 Prince of Wales, the 1 3/16-mile race at Fort Erie July 20, which is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Arco's Gold works under Montpellier

Prince of Wales candidate Arco's Gold, who finished eighth in the Plate, also worked five furlongs Sunday, going in 1:01.60 from the gate under jockey Constant Montpellier.

"I thought he looked better than I'd seen him in a while," said trainer John Ross, who timed Arco's Gold galloping out six furlongs in 1:15. "I've been playing catch-up with him all year; it's time to sharpen him up a little bit."

Peef works faster than expected on the turf

Peef, nominated to both the Prince of Wales and the Grade 3, $150,000 Toronto Cup over 1 1/8 miles on the grass here Saturday, worked five furlongs in 57.20 under jockey Steven Bahen on the training track turf course Sunday.

The time pleasantly surprised Malcolm Pierce, who took over as Peef's trainer on Friday and will confer with owner Jurgen Schemmer before deciding on the gelding's next start.

Patrick Husbands grabs lead in jockey race

Patrick Husbands had a lucrative weekend, winning five races and taking over first place in the jockey standings. Included in the wins was Saturday's $187,250 Dance Smartly aboard invader Madeira Mist.

In addition to working Wando, Husbands was in the irons for five-furlong works aboard Added Edge and Gigawatt, both of whom are trained by Mark Casse.

Added Edge, a Sovereign Award winner last year, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 Sunday. Added Edge, who has not started since being injured in a last-place finish in Gulfstream's Holy Bull on Jan. 18, is set to return against older rivals in the $125,000 Bold Venture here July 19.

"If he runs good, he'll go on to run in the King's Bishop at Saratoga," said Casse.

The Grade 1, $200,000 King's Bishop is a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds Aug. 23.

Added Edge's probable opponents in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture include Wake at Noon, Canada's reigning champion sprinter, who outpolled Added Edge in the 2002 Canadian Horse of the Year balloting.