09/21/2008 11:00PM

Not Bourbon back in gear

Email

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Any doubts surrounding the status of the Queen's Plate winner, Not Bourbon, were removed emphatically by his impressive 4 1/2-length win in the seven-furlong Overskate here last Saturday.

After suffering an entrapped epiglottis during his disappointing seventh-place finish in Fort Erie's July 13 Prince of Wales and subsequently undergoing throat surgery, Not Bourbon had to be scratched from the Aug. 31 Vice Regent after injuring himself slightly in his stall that morning.

So it was not surprising that there had been questions in trainer Roger Attfield's mind when he saddled Not Bourbon for the $125,000 Overskate, in which he was facing some salty older rivals.

"I'm relieved," said Attfield on Monday morning. "He came out of the race super."

What most impressed Attfield about Not Bourbon's Overskate effort was the fact that the colt was able to sit off a slow opening quarter-mile of 24.02 seconds before taking charge through a 22.73-second second quarter under regular rider Jono Jones.

"It's amazing how this horse is rating in the afternoon," said Attfield, who has watched Not Bourbon rip off bullet work after bullet work over the past few months.

"You'd never get him to rate like that in the morning. He's just becoming a real professional."

Attfield plans to confer with Charles Fipke, Not Bourbon's owner and breeder, before deciding which direction the colt's campaign will take.

In the meantime, Not Bourbon now has won four stakes and $890,000 this season, and the Overskate score pushed his career bankroll to $1,041,160.

Sand Cove to step up again

Next Sunday's $125,000 Ontario Derby, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, had been Not Bourbon's target before he missed the Vice Regent. So Attfield once again will go to his bench and call upon Sand Cove, who pinch-hit successfully with a half-length score in the Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Sand Cove, owned by Ralph Johnson, would be attempting his longest trip to date in the Ontario Derby but has run well in his only previous outings around two turns, finishing second in a restricted second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles and then winning that condition at the same distance.

On Saturday, Sand Cove tuned up for the Ontario Derby with a smart five furlongs in 59 seconds under Richard Dos Ramos, who had ridden the colt in each of his 13 starts before the Vice Regent.

Slade Callaghan substituted in the Vice Regent for Dos Ramos, who was at Saratoga guiding Marlang to victory in the Grade 3 Saranac for trainer Debbie England.

Two gird for turf battles

Spice Route and Callwood Dancer, who will be facing the biggest tests of their careers for Attfield here on Oct. 4, both breezed five furlongs over the training track turf course on Sunday.

Spice Route, who is eyeing the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International, was clocked in 1:02 under Robert Landry. Jim McAleney, the gelding's regular rider, was unavailable and off his mounts on Sunday after being shaken up in a spill here the previous afternoon.

Eurico Rosa da Silva was aboard Callwood Dancer, who was timed in 1:02.20 as she continues her preparations for the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor.

Society's Chairman breezes

Society's Chairman, who became a stakes winner for Attfield and Fipke in the Sept. 1 Halton, breezed five furlongs in 59.80 seconds and is eyeing the $125,000 Bunty Lawless here Oct. 11.

The Halton was a yearling sales stakes at one mile on turf, while the Bunty Lawless is for Ontario-sired runners over the same distance and surface.

Sutherland a study in motion

Last weekend was an eventful one for jockey Chantal Sutherland.

Sutherland finished first in the last two races on Saturday, but Mia d'Cougar, her mount in the nightcap, was disqualified and placed fifth after the stewards ruled that the filly had lugged in and cost the fifth-place finisher, Prima Danna, a shot at a higher placing.

No suspension was imposed, as the stewards found that Sutherland had done her best to prevent the interference. But Mia Cougar's owner, Brenda Goodlet, has appealed the disqualification.

Moving on to Sunday, Sutherland clicked for a hat track capped by Lickety Lemon's score in the $102,200 Flaming Page, a 1 1/2-mile overnight turf stakes for fillies and mares.

The stakes win was the ninth of the meeting for Sutherland, ranking her behind only Jones (12) and Da Silva (11).

Sutherland also was sitting in third place in the races-won standings with 77 wins heading into Wednesday's program, trailing McAleney (109) and Patrick Husbands (86), who won four races on Sunday.

She will not be adding to her totals on Wednesday or Thursday, however, as she will be in California for the opening of the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

Sutherland, who competed at Santa Anita last winter, has been named on one horse on the Thursday program but said she also will be taking part in the filming of a reality television series involving jockeys.

Lickety Lemon in breakthrough win

Lickety Lemon, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old owned by Charles Laloggia and trained by Mark Casse, was making her 11th career start and recording her first stakes win in the Flaming Page.

After beginning her career with back-to-back wins here last summer, Lickety Lemon had placed in a total of five stakes at three different racetracks before her Flaming Page breakthrough.

Both Casse and Laloggia felt that Lickety Lemon's first stakes success was both overdue and appropriate.

"After she won her first two races last year, we didn't know how good we might be," said Laloggia. "She's had so much trouble, she deserved to win this one."

Casse, while echoing the "trouble" theme, always has maintained that extended distances would be Lickety Lemon's strong suit.

"She's bred to run all day long," said Casse. "The problem is, that for fillies and mares, there aren't that many mile and a half races."

One such event, which may well be Lickety Lemon's next assignment, is the $150,000 Dowager, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares at Keeneland on Oct. 19.