06/20/2004 11:00PM

Night Sky sharp in Plate drill

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Michael Burns Photo
A Bit O'Gold had his final Plate prep over a fast main track on Saturday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Queen's Plate action was furious, and fast, during a three-day span when seven of the 14 candidates for Sunday's $1 million, 1 1/4-mile feature for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds had their final major tune-ups.

Monday, Night Sky was impressive in a five-furlong breeze of 59.40 seconds, the fastest of 26 at the distance on Woodbine's fast main track.

Jim McAleney was aboard for the drill, in which Night Sky was clocked in 35 for his opening three furlongs and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80.

"He did everything the right way," said Danny Vella, who trains Night Sky for Stronach Stable. "That was spot on; he's in perfect order."

The most intriguing Plate work on Sunday was turned in by Alleged Ruler, who worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 on the fast main track before the afternoon's first race.

Alleged Ruler, owned by Chiefswood Stable and trained by Eric Coatrieux, is stabled at the nearby farm of his owners and had not been to Woodbine since winning his maiden over 1 1/16 miles here May 29.

"I wanted him to get used to the environment a little more," said Coatrieux. "He doesn't have a lot of experience."

Slade Callaghan, who has picked up the mount on Alleged Ruler, was aboard the colt for the first time Sunday.

"I thought he went very nicely," said Callaghan, who guided Alleged Ruler through fractions of 24.20 and 47.20 and let him gallop out seven furlongs in 1:25.60 and pull up through a mile in 1:42.60.

"He covers ground effortlessly; he's just so smooth," Callaghan said. "I only really asked him to run the last couple of hundred yards, and he responded beautifully."

Coatrieux also conditions Niigon, who finished second in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here June 6.

Long Pond, Kent Ridge, and Strike Em Hard all worked five furlongs Sunday morning.

Patrick Husbands was aboard both Long Pond and Kent Ridge, who both are trained by Mark Casse. Husbands has the call on Kent Ridge for the Plate, with Stewart Elliott coming up for the mount on Long Pond.

Long Pond, who is 2 for 2 this year, breezed in 1:00.80.

"I thought he was going a little too fast early," said Casse. "His last quarter-mile was just a fast gallop."

Kent Ridge, a winner in his only start of the season here May 21, breezed in 1:00.60.

"I thought Kent Ridge worked great," said Casse, who caught the colt going galloping out in 1:13.

Strike Em Hard was timed in 1:00.60 under jockey Emile Ramsammy.

"[Ramsammy] only let him go along the last sixteenth," said Dave Cotey, trainer and co-owner of Strike Em Hard, adding that he clocked his horse galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.60.

A Bit O'Gold and Will He Crow had their final Plate preps over a fast main track here Saturday.

A Bit O'Gold, the probable Plate favorite off his smart victory in the Plate Trial, breezed five furlongs on the fast main track in 1:00.60 under regular rider Jono Jones.

Trained by Catherine Day Phillips, A Bit O'Gold got his opening three furlongs in 35.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.60.

Will He Crow, who is heading into the Plate after winning his maiden over 1 1/16 miles here June 5, breezed six furlongs in 1:14.60.

With regular rider Steven Bahen in the irons, Will He Crow got his opening half-mile in 48.80 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:29 for trainer Tim Regan.

Queen's Plate candidates

HORSETRAINERJOCKEY
A Bit O'GoldC. Day PhillipsJ. Jones
Alleged RulerE. CoatrieuxS. Callaghan
Archer FleetV. Armataundecided
Copper TrailJ. DayN. Somsanith
His SmoothnessJ. DayJ. McKnight
Just in Case JimmyR. AttfieldR. Dos Ramos
Kent RidgeM. CasseP. Husbands
Long PondM. CasseS. Elliott
Night SkyD. VellaJ. McAleney
NiigonE. CoatrieuxR. Landry
Picadilly BayJ. RossC. Montpellier
Silver TicketM. FrostadT. Kabel
Strike Em HardD. CoteyE. Ramsammy
Will He CrowT. ReganS. Bahen