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No Saratoga for Sweetest Thing
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sweetest Thing, who had been a candidate for Monday's Glens Falls Handicap at Saratoga, will not be making the trip there for that race.
Roger Attfield, who trains Sweetest Thing for the Lael Stable of Roy and Gretchen Jackson, already had ruled out the Saratoga race and was considering Saturday's Belle Geste at Woodbine but had to scrap that scenario as well.
"She coughed a couple of times this [Wednesday] morning," said Attfield, whose stable has been hit hard by the virus making the rounds of the Woodbine backstretch. "We'll have to look to the Flaming Page now."
The $100,000 Flaming Page, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares, will be run next Saturday but is an overnight stakes and is not part of the guaranteed stakes program.
Attfield is hoping to use the Flaming Page as Sweetest Thing's stepping-stone to her primary target, the $750,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes here Sept. 29.
An appearance in both races would make Sweetest Thing eligible for Sovereign Award consideration, which requires a minimum of three starts in Canada during the voting year.
Sweetest Thing was Canada's champion turf female in 2001 when owned by Attfield, Mickey Canino, and Bill Werner.
Perfect Soul, Muntej tune up
Perfect Soul and Muntej, also trained by Attfield, tuned up on the training track turf course Wednesday with an eye toward the Aug. 31 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Perfect Soul, who went seven furlongs in 1:27.60 under exercise rider Paul O'Sullivan, would be making his stakes debut in the Niagara, a 1 1/2-mile turf race with Grade 1 status and a purse of $300,000.
A 4-year-old Sadler's Wells colt who is owned by Charles Fipke, Perfect Soul debuted here this June and is undefeated in three starts, all on turf.
Muntej, owned by Attfield and a host of partners, worked five furlongs in 1:01 under jockey Slade Callaghan.
A 5-year-old horse, Muntej was a close fourth in the Niagara prep but has not won since the Grade 2 Sky Classic here in September of 2000.
Other Attfield runners work out
Attfield's Wednesday turf workers also included El Soprano, who prepped four furlongs in 50.40 seconds, and Kabeeb, who went five furlongs in 1:01.40
A 3-year-old colt owned by Stronach Stable, El Soprano was the runner-up in the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes here Aug. 10. He is nominated to Saratoga's Grade 3 Saranac Handicap, a $100,000 race for 3-year-olds over 1 3/16 miles on turf Sept. 2.
Kabeeb, owned by Attfield and partners, finished second in her debut over 6 1/2 furlongs in the slop here July 26, then ran third over seven furlongs on turf Aug. 10. She is nominated to the Muskoka, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, which is one of six $100,000 yearling sales stakes on the Sept. 2 program.
Attfield had hoped to run impressive maiden winner Speak Out in the Muskoka, but that filly is ailing and unlikely to participate.
Yearling sales stakes runners get ready
Forever Grand and Rare Friends, both 3-year-old geldings owned by Frank DiGiulio and trainer Bob Tiller, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 on the main track Wednesday in preparation for yearling sales stakes appearances.
Todd Kabel was aboard Forever Grand, who will go in the 1 1/16-mile Elgin. Patrick Husbands rode Rare Friends, whose target is the six-furlong Kenora. Both stakes are for
3-year-olds and offer purses of $100,000.
Rare Friends won the seven-furlong Simcoe on the yearling sales card last year and went on to be voted Canada's champion 2-year-old male. He has won two stakes this year, the Achievement and Afleet, both at six furlongs.
Forever Grand, who will be seeking his first stakes victory in the Elgin, finished third here in the Queen's Plate and fifth in Fort Erie's Prince of Wales.
In his last start, Forever Grand tried turf in the one-mile Vice Regent and finished a disappointing fifth.
"He seemed to be lost," said Tiller. "He just kept changing his leads, back and forth."
Forever Grand also had been nominated to Saturday's Shepperton, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward, which will go with a field of four.
Mighty Quinn also passing Shepperton
Also passing on the Shepperton in favor of the relative confines of a yearling sales stakes is Mighty Quinn, a 3-year-old owned by Windways Farm and Quinn Stable and trained by Malcolm Pierce.
But exactly which stakes Mighty Quinn will go in might remain undecided right up until race day because the colt is nominated to the Kenora, the Elgin, and the Halton, a
1 1/8-mile turf race, and can be cross-entered.
"The good news is we'll have lots of options," said Pierce. "We'll just have to pick the right one."
Mighty Quinn has finished first or second in 8 of 10 career starts. The colt has won at distances ranging from five to seven furlongs on the main track and is unbeaten in two turf starts, winning the six-furlong Bold Ruckus here June 5 and the Vice Regent in his last start on Aug. 7.
"I think the Kenora is a little too short," said Pierce. "His best distance might be seven furlongs, on the dirt.
"I wasn't impressed with his first turf race, but in his last race, the Vice Regent, he won off by almost three lengths. The turf was definitely firmer for his second start. That might have made a difference."
Canadian Derby simulcast
Saturday's card also will feature a simulcast of the Grade 3 Canadian Derby from Northlands Park in Edmonton.
The post time here for the $150,000 Canadian Derby, a 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, will be 5:45 p.m.
Lady Shari, winner of the Grade 1 Mazarine here last year for her owner-trainer Dave Cotey and partners Hugh Galbraith and Derek Ball, was scheduled to fly west Wednesday evening. His regular rider, Constant Montpellier, has the mount.
Handicapping contest entrants welcome
Woodbine's Thoroughbred Handicapping Challenge will take place here Saturday and Sunday. Up to 300 contestants will be accepted. The entry fee is $250, which would make for a potential maximum prize pool of $75,000.
The top four finishers also earn trips to Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in January.