07/01/2008 11:00PM

Not Bourbon gets to work on dirt


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Not Bourbon, winner of the Queen's Plate here June 22, breezed five furlongs in 59.20 seconds on the training track Wednesday in preparation for Fort Erie's July 13 Prince of Wales stakes.

The $500,000 Prince of Wales, at 1 3/16 miles, follows the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate as the second leg of the triple crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Regular rider Jono Jones was aboard Not Bourbon for Wednesday's workout, which was the colt's first this season over the training track's dirt strip and the fastest of nine at the distance.

"He handled it very well," Jones said. "He felt perfect."

Others expected back from the Queen's Plate field include fourth-place finisher Deputiformer, sixth-place finisher East End Tap, eighth-place finisher Took the Time, and 10th-place finisher Sebastian's Song.

Sebastian's Song also breezed five furlongs on the training track Wednesday, going in 1:02.40.

Harlem Rocker and Pronger rounded out the list of confirmed candidates for the Prince of Wales as of Wednesday morning.

Harlem Rocker passed on the Queen's Plate after finishing a lackluster fourth in the Plate Trial but would be returning to dirt at Fort Erie. He was undefeated in his first three career starts on dirt.

Pronger was a maiden winner at seven furlongs here last time out.

Jiggs Coz rebounds with upset

The overwhelming consensus was that Tuesday's 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day would turn out to be a match race.

And while that scenario was enacted, the players were not the ones anticipated as Jiggs Coz stepped into the breach vacated by Sterwins and upset True Metropolitan.

Sterwins, who had finished second to True Metropolitan when the two last met here in the June 7 Eclipse at 1 1/16 miles, was withdrawn from the Dominion Day after trainer Malcolm Pierce was unhappy with his condition following a morning jog.

That left the three remaining entrants seemingly at the mercy of True Metropolitan, but then Jiggs Coz, under regular rider David Clark, led almost every step of the way to leave the odds-on favorite 2 3/4 lengths back in second place.

"I left it all up to David," said Sid Attard, who trains Jiggs Coz. "The way he's been riding, I'm not going to say anything. He's riding super-good."

Jiggs Coz lost as the favorite in both the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales last year and then was sidelined and underwent ankle surgery.

Returning from an absence of more than 10 months, Jiggs Coz faltered to finish ninth here in the May 25 Connaught Cup at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

"I was so nervous, with the way he ran last time and everything that's happened with this horse," said Attard, after watching Jiggs Coz record his fourth and most important stakes win in the Grade 3, $206,000 Dominion Day. "But I know he went to this race really good. He showed lots of life in the paddock."

Jiggs Coz and True Metropolitan could meet again here in the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup, a July 27 race that is the next two-turn Polytrack stakes for the division.

Executive Flight wins first stakes

Executive Flight, a perennial hard knocker with seven previous victories, finally made it to the stakes winner's circle with a convincing score in Tuesday's $106,700 Sweet Briar Too at seven furlongs.

A 5-year-old Ontario-bred, Executive Flight was making just her second start of the season for trainer Darwin Banach after finishing third in the six-furlong Ballade here June 14.

"She was coming off some ankle surgery last fall, and she wintered in Kentucky," said Banach, who trains Executive Flight for owner Bill Sorokolit Jr. "We brought her back here in early April and had to rush her to be able to get her to that last one."

The Ballade, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, evidently set up Executive Flight for her big effort in the Sweet Briar Too.

"We'll probably keep her sprinting," Sorokolit said. "But on turf, she can stretch out a bit."

Sorokolit cited the Aug. 17 Victoriana, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares in which Executive Flight finished second last year, as a long-term target.

Executive Flight also launched a perfect 4-for-4 afternoon for jockey Chantal Sutherland.

Sky Conqueror near a return to work

Sky Conqueror, the Grade 1 winner whom Banach trains for owner-breeder Bill Sorokolit Sr., should return to training in the next week or so after being sidelined by a foot problem following a five-furlong breeze here May 21.

"He's kind of day to day," Banach said. "He was very close to racing when he worked last time and grabbed a quarter. He's kind of been going backwards since then.

"We're giving him plenty of time to heal."

Banach and Sorokolit are hoping that Sky Conqueror will be ready to defend his title in the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward that he won last year when it was run on July 23.

This year's Northern Dancer has been shifted to Sept. 7 and is part of an all-star turf program that will include the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile for 3-year-olds and upward and the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Canadian for fillies and mares.

Woodbine Live! in line for tax breaks

The Woodbine Live! project, to be located here on racetrack property, could benefit from $71.2 million in tax breaks over 20 years under Toronto's community improvement program.

A news release issued Monday by the city of Toronto said the city's Economic Development Committee will meet next Tuesday to consider a city council report recommending that Woodbine receive financial incentives in the form of tax breaks.

Woodbine Live!, a partnership between the Woodbine Entertainment Group and the Baltimore-based The Cordish Cos., is a $1 billion-plus, 180-acre project that will include a hotel, a live-performance venue, a skating canal and rink, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, retail outlets, offices, and residential units.