05/23/2007 11:00PM

Mike Fox's victory lands him Plate role


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A second-level allowance race on a Wednesday evening here at Woodbine may not seem like such stuff as Queen's Plate dreams are made on.

But that's the path that will be followed by Mike Fox, who defeated older rivals over 1 1/16 miles and should make his next appearance in the $1 million Queen's Plate on

June 24.

"I was impressed," said Ian Black, who trains Mike Fox for D. Morgan Firestone. "They were tough enough older horses. I thought it was a good performance."

Mike Fox, under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, broke from post 7 in the field of 10 and was prominent from the outset before taking charge for a determined 1 1/4-length victory.

Trained here last year by Reade Baker, Mike Fox won a mile and 70-yard maiden special and a seven-furlong first-level allowance before heading to Florida and trainer Cliff Hopmans.

After finishing a troubled fourth under second-level allowance terms at Tampa Bay Downs, Mike Fox returned to Woodbine and was seventh in the seven-furlong Queenston in his first start for Black.

Mike Fox, however, always has appeared to be cut out to be a long-distance runner, and the 1 1/4 miles of the Queen's Plate should pose no problem.

"He just keeps on coming," said Black.

Lyrically wins at seven furlongs

Lyrically, trained by Black and owned and bred by Kinghaven Farm, recorded her second straight victory in the race immediately preceding Mike Fox's.

"She grabbed a quarter coming out of the gate," said Black here Thursday morning. "That might cost us a little bit of time."

The seven-furlong, first-level allowance was the longest test to date for Lyrically, who began her career this April with a second-place finish at five furlongs before winning her maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs.

While Lyrically is eligible for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies on June 10, Black is inclined to take a more conservative route.

"We probably shouldn't do something too courageous too soon," said Black. "She's a very nice filly, and we want to do right by her."

Seductively back from quick break

Seductively, a Kinghaven homebred who finished third in last year's Woodbine Oaks after winning the Grade 3 Selene at 1 1/16 miles, returned to Black's barn here Thursday following a week on the farm.

The freshening followed an eighth-place finish by Seductively in the

6 1/2-furlong Hendrie under regular rider Gerry Olguin. She won the six-furlong Whimsical in her seasonal bow.

"She bled a little," said Black of her race in the Hendrie. "But Gerry said she just wasn't herself that day."

Seductively's next stakes target is the $100,000 Hill 'n' Dale, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares here June 16.

Bellicose Belle tackling rival again

In the meantime, Black will send out Bellicose Belle in Saturday's $150,000 Lady Angela for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.

Bellicose Belle, who won her maiden over six furlongs in her second and final start at 2 after finishing second in her debut, returned to action here May 5 and ended fourth in an Ontario-sired first-level allowance at seven furlongs.

The winner there, Boldly Seductive, also is in the Lady Angela lineup and is one of several fillies with clashing speed styles.

"My filly's got to improve three or four lengths," said Black, while acknowledging that the projected pace scenario could play to Bellicose Belle's stalking style.

Suva in for Oaks start

Suva, trained by Steve Henson, checked in from her Vancouver base early Thursday morning with an eye toward the Woodbine Oaks.

Bred in British Columbia, Suva is owned by Jeffrey Sengara, who has horses here with trainer Scott Fairlie.

Winner of the 6 1/2-furlong CTHS Sales Stakes and the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy at Hastings last year, Suva opened her 3-year-old campaign with another CTHS Sales Stakes win and then finished third in last Sunday's Emerald Downs at Hastings.

Both of Suva's races this spring were at 6 1/2 furlongs, with the Emerald Downs being run in the slop.

"I don't think I'm going to dominate here or anything," said Henson, who is visiting Woodbine for the first time, "but she's probably the best filly in Vancouver and there's nothing there for her for six weeks."

Suva is not eligible for the Woodbine Oaks and would have to be supplemented on entry day at a cost of $12,500.

"We've only got one shot at this, so we're taking it," said Henson.

Regular rider Pedro Alvarado, who topped the standings at Hastings last year, is scheduled to partner Suva here.

Tune-up for Jiggs Coz

Jiggs Coz, one of the leading contenders for the Queen's Plate, worked six furlongs in 1:13.20 on the main track here Thursday in his final major tune-up for next Sunday's Plate Trial.

Regular rider David Clark was aboard for the drill.

"He went very well," said trainer Sid Attard. "The jockey was very happy with him."

Jiggs Coz, owned and bred by Mel Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable, will be making just his second start of the season in the Plate Trial after scoring impressively in the seven-furlong Queenston here May 5.

Surface work ahead of schedule

The Polytrack surface originally had been scheduled to be closed on Thursday morning but was opened when the second stage of rewaxing finished ahead of schedule.

The next step in the Polytrack renovation will be the first addition of a petroleum jelly compound here next Tuesday.