07/23/2002 11:00PM

One wins, the other doesn't


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The racing game is full of ups and downs, and a dramatic case in point was provided last week by two horses trained by Sandy McPherson and owned by John Atto.

Last Thursday, McPherson and Atto had watched with great concern as In Frank's Honor was pulled up in the stretch by jockey Jake Barton.

Less than 48 hours later, the pair were greeting Parose in the winner's circle following his victory in the $106,000 Izvestia Stakes.

In Frank's Honor, a 6-year-old who was claimed for $62,500 at Gulfstream this March, had run fourth when making his local debut in the May 25 Connaught Cup and was competing in classified allowance company when he failed to finish July 18.

"At first I thought he'd broke down, but I could see as soon as he was walking off the track that he was fine," said McPherson.

Following the race, Barton had apprised McPherson of the circumstances.

"When the horse switched leads, [Barton] said he felt he'd broke his leg," said McPherson. "He tried to pull him up, but the horse jumped on his other lead and started running again.

"But when he changed leads again, he didn't feel right so he pulled him up."

That explanation helped put McPherson's mind at ease.

"We kind of know what we're dealing with, because we X-rayed him as soon as we got him in Florida," said McPherson. "He's absolutely no different than he's been since we had him; he never was in any distress."

Parose, an 8-year-old gelding who was claimed for $62,500 here last December, was recording his first local stakes win in the Izvestia.

Bred in Alberta, Parose had campaign in western Canada and had won the Speed to Spare at Northlands Park and the Wheat City at Assiniboia Downs before coming east in the fall of 2000.

"He's a tough old bird," said McPherson, who has watched Parose bring home $150,200 in six starts for his new barn this year. Parose had been scheduled to contest the $219,800 Dominion Day Handicap here July 1, but was a late scratch after suffering cuts to his hind end in his stall just before walking over to the paddock.

"He certainly could have run," said McPherson. "The vet phoned me, and asked me to come back to the barn. He said it was my call."

McPherson elected to scratch, and save Parose to fight another day. Last Saturday's Izvestia, an overnight handicap which is not a guaranteed part of the stakes schedule, proved the perfect spot.

"If this overnight handicap hadn't come up, we'd have run him for $100,000 [claiming] or whatever," said McPherson. "You're better off winning one of these races than running second in a $200,000 race, the way the purses are.

"That was our thinking, and luckily it worked out for us. This game is 90 percent luck - plain, simple luck. You've got to have a million things go right, and if just one thing goes wrong . . . "

While the Aug. 4 Seagram Cup is the next stakes stop for the older male division, Parose was not even nominated to the race.

"We're going to keep doing what we've been doing, running him every four to six weeks," said McPherson. "He runs hard every time, and he doesn't owe us any money."

A Fleets Dancer to Seagram Cup

One local performer who does have the 1 1/16-mile Seagram Cup on his agenda is A Fleets Dancer, who finished a disappointing sixth in the Dominion Day and worked five furlongs on the training track in 1:02.20 here last Sunday.

Jockey Robert Landry was in the irons as A Fleets Dancer went in company with unraced 3-year-old filly Rimini Road, who also was clocked in 1:02.20.

A Fleets Dancer, a 7-year-old who is winless in three starts this year for owner Cam Allard and trainer Roger Attfield, is Canada's reigning champion older horse.

Pop Star's next gig

Attfield could be represented here in Saturday's $125,000 Bull Page Stakes by Pop Star, who finished fourth in his debut July 14.

"I thought if I could get a good run into him it would put me in good stead, if I wanted to go there," said Attfield, who trains Pop Star for the Kinghaven Farm of David Willmot.

The Bull Page is a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Montpellier withdraws appeal

Constant Montpellier has withdrawn his appeal of a three-day suspension and will be sitting out the Thursday through Saturday programs.

Apprentice jockey Chantal Sutherland has appealed a three-day suspension for her ride aboard Joan Paul Jones in last Friday's seventh race.

The stewards had ruled Sutherland came in with her mount and interfered with Da Diva in the vicinity of the five-sixteenths pole. Joan Paul Jones was disqualified from fourth and placed eighth.

Sutherland also has been fined $200 for "using her whip with excessive frequency" during the stretch run of last Thursday's first race. Her mount, Palace of Dreams, was the 2 1/2-length winner there.

* Jockey Pierre Mailhot has been fined $200 for "misusing his whip with excessive frequency and raising his whip above shoulder height" during the stretch run of last Thursday's eighth race. Mailhot's mount, Frank's Selection, finished second, beaten a neck.