05/05/2004 12:00AM

Mr. J.T.L. gives dirt a try again


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mr. J.T.L. may be as talented as any contestant in Saturday's $150,000 Queenston Stakes.

There is, however, one important qualifier to that statement - Mr. J.T.L. has shown a distinct preference for turf thus far in his career, and the Queenston is run over seven furlongs on the main track.

But the Queenston also happens to be a prep for the $1 million Queen's Plate, the 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, which will be run on the dirt here June 27.

For that reason, Roger Attfield, the trainer and co-owner of Mr. J.T.L., decided to give Mr. J.T.L. another crack at the surface.

"He's run twice on the dirt, and he's been very disappointing," Attfield said. "But then I put him on the turf, and he's run well. I always thought he was going to be more inclined to turf, because of his action. But now he's gone from 2 to 3, and we have to try him on the dirt again to see."

Mr. J.T.L.'s previous races on the main track came here last fall, when he finished fourth in his 6 1/2-furlong debut and then seventh over 1 1/16 miles.

But Mr. J.T.L. was a different horse when he switched to turf this March, winning gamely over 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream and following with a second-place finish in Keeneland's Grade 3 Transylvania at a mile on the turf.

In a subsequent outing, which came in Keeneland's Forerunner over 1 1/8 miles of grass, Mr. J.T.L. chased a fast pace and was right there at the eighth pole before weakening to finish sixth.

"The Queenston looks like quite a salty race," Attfield said. "But out of all my 3-year-olds, he's the one I ought to put in there, to sort things out a little bit."

Three more Attfield-nominees

Attfield's other Queenston nominees were Langburg, Just in Case Jimmy, and Elusive Knight.

Langburg, second to subsequent Coronation Futurity winner A Bit O'Gold in his first start around two turns here last fall, finished eighth when facing older rivals in his seasonal bow here April 25.

Just in Case Jimmy, who ran second in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon here last June, was a closing third over 6 1/2 furlongs in his seasonal bow at Keeneland and remains a maiden after six starts.

Elusive Knight, who is winless in seven outings, ran well on the turf at Gulfstream this March, but was well-beaten in two subsequent outings over the Keeneland main track.

Exceptionally could run in Oaks

Attfield's only nominee for the June 13 Labatt Woodbine Oaks is Exceptionally, a maiden owned by Kinghaven Farm.

Exceptionally has started just twice, finishing fifth in her debut at six furlongs here last July and fourth over seven furlongs at Keeneland on April 9.

Exceptionally was entered here on April 25, but wound up as the lone also-eligible and didn't make it into the race.

"That messed up her timing a little bit," Attfield said. "I think she's a nice filly, but she'll have to step up a whole lot to be an Oaks filly."

Exceptionally was nominated to Sunday's $150,000 Fury, the seven-furlong race for Canadian-bred fillies that is the next stakes prep for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, but is not scheduled to participate.

"Horseplay" returns

The television show "Horseplay", which in its first season was a Sovereign Award finalist in the film/video/broadcast category, will make its 2004 debut Saturday.

Hosted by Joe Tilley and featuring Steve Millar as the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association analyst, each episode of the half-hour "Horseplay" will air twice each weekend.

On Saturdays, through Nov. 13, "Horseplay" will be shown on TRN (The Racing Network) at 10:55 a.m. and on TSN (The Sports Network) at 11:30 a.m. The TSN showings will run through the end of May and resume Sept. 25 through Nov. 13.

From June 5 through Sept. 18, "Horseplay" will be shown on CFTO on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

Weekend racing seminar

An Australian racing seminar has been scheduled here Friday, beginning at 9 p.m. on the second floor of the grandstand.

Jim Bannon, Woodbine television analyst and handicapping authority, will be joined by Australian racing experts Rick Albright and Bob Seaforth.

Woodbine offers simulcast wagering on Australian racing Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Bannon will be back in the same location at 11 a.m. for the second in this season's series of one-hour teaching seminars at the "Intermediate" level.

Teachings seminars at the "Beginner" level have been added this season, with the first of two such sessions set for May 29.