11/07/2008 12:00AM

Much uncertainty in Autumn


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Questions abound regarding Sunday's $150,000 Autumn Stakes at Woodbine.

* Is last year's Autumn winner, True Metropolitan, over the top?

* Does the other Vancouver shipper in the field, Rosberg, have a chance in the Grade 2 event at 1 1/16 miles?

* Will Palladio be an overlay, like he was when he won Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes?

* Are Marchfield and Artie Hot legitimate contenders?

True Metropolitan, Canada's champion older runner in each of the last two years, is winless since he took the Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes here in June. He was second in four consecutive races prior to finishing fifth after setting a suicidal pace in the Grade 3 Premiers at Hastings on Oct. 12.

Trainer Terry Jordan said True Metropolitan's last race is a throw-out.

"I think the riders were having a little argument with each other," Jordan explained, noting that True Metropolitan was in front, "and then Spaghetti Mouse went after him with a mile to go. The whole thing was really stupid. It cost them both the race."

Rosberg won the 1 3/8-mile Premiers after rallying from far back. He has improved with each subsequent start since joining trainer Dino Condilenios's Hastings barn last summer.

"He had really bad feet when I got him," Condilenios recalled. "We rectified that problem, and he had a few other little issues that we got to the bottom of. He got sick before his last race, and missed about two and a half weeks of training. He didn't come into it as fit as I would have liked."

Rosberg is making his first start on a synthetic track, and seemingly has his work cut out for him.

Palladio, Canada's champion 3-year-old in 2005, returned a generous $13.60 when he broke the nine-furlong Polytrack record in the Oct. 11 Durham Cup. He could be the lukewarm favorite, and justifiably so, since he's in peak form.

Palladio will be saddled by Roger Attfield, who leads all trainers with 12 stakes victories at the meeting.

Marchfield and Artie Hot were second and third in the Grade 3 Durham Cup. Artie Hot's trainer, Nick Gonzalez, said he felt Palladio's three-wide stalking trip was the key to victory.

"It was a paceless race," Gonzalez said. "They ran the last three-eighths in 35 and change, and Artie was running. Under normal circumstances, he would have blown by those horses, but Palladio got first run, and they all sprinted home."