06/03/2002 12:00AM

Mighty Quinn gets a start on turf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It's too bad that Mighty Quinn, the likely favorite in Wednesday's Bold Ruckus Stakes, a six-furlong turf dash for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds at Woodbine, is off the Queen's Plate trail.

Pat Quinn, coach of the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs, is scheduled to be the honorary drawmaster for the June 23 Plate, and Mighty Quinn would have garnered lots of media attention on draw day, simply because of his name.

Co-owner Jeff Begg has resigned himself to the notion that Mighty Quinn, a son of Tethra, is a dyed-in-the-wool sprinter.

"I didn't nominate him to the Plate before his last race," Begg said. "He's a tall, athletic horse. He has a big stride, but he's not bred to go more than a mile. He wants to be close to or on the lead, and I think we were just kidding ourselves thinking he was going to get two turns."

Mighty Quinn's lone two-turn outing, at 2, came in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity, in which he showed speed until the eighth pole before fading to fifth. He finished first or second in each of his other four starts last year, including a three-length score in the seven-furlong Frost King, an Ontario-sire stakes.

Mighty Quinn was fifth in the open Woodstock Stakes in his first appearance this year. Most recently in a seven-furlong optional claimer on May 18, he was second to Forever Grand, perhaps the best 3-year-old sprinter on the grounds.

"He ran a good race last time," Begg noted. "He came out of it better than he went in."

Mighty Quinn has yet to try the grass, but his half-sister Julie's Witt is a stakes winner on turf. Begg believes the surface switch shouldn't be a problem for Mighty Quinn, who is trained by Malcolm Pierce.

"He worked on the turf last year, when we had thoughts of running him in the Cup and Saucer Stakes," Begg recalled. "Malcolm's opinion was that handled it fine, but didn't move up any."

Ray Sabourin will ride Mighty Quinn. Rounding out the field for the $129,875 stakes are Parco Ducale, Grimer, Dillinger, Knight Ram and Akbar.

Parco Ducale, trained by David Bell, is the lone runner in the field to have won on grass. That came in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special last July, and he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

Parco Ducale fared poorly in his only start this year, in an allowance for Ontario-sired horses.

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