06/09/2010 11:00PM

Only one prep for top Oaks pair


ETOBICOKE, Ontario − Resentless and Roan Inish each enter Sunday's $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles with one start this season, having finished one-two in the seven-furlong Fury Stakes here May 1.

Resentless, trained by Ian Howard, did not get another prep race because she fell ill. Roan Inish's trainer, Carolyn Costigan, elected to train her filly up to the Woodbine Oaks.

Resentless and Roan Inish, arguably the top two Canadian-bred fillies on the grounds last season, were highly regarded Woodbine Oaks candidates coming into the 2010 meeting.

They met for the first time here in the

1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth last Oct. 31, when Roan Inish won by a length in her North American debut after racing three times in Ireland. Roan Inish came back two weeks later and finished second in the Glorious Song, an open race at seven furlongs, before being put away for the season.

Resentless closed her campaign with a romping win in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie, which was restricted to Ontario foals.

Both wintered south of the border with an eye toward the Woodbine Oaks, Resentless at Nelson Jones Farm in Ocala. Fla., and Roan Inish at San Luis Rey Downs in California.

Resentless had the jump in the Fury, run over a distance that was in her favor, and she led throughout to score by five lengths under regular rider Chantal Sutherland. But the joy in the Howard camp was short-lived. His barn was hit by an infection, and Resentless was among those affected.

"She missed about two and a half weeks, spiking a fever and coughing," said Howard, 51. "She lost probably 50 to 75 pounds."

Resentless returned to training in the third week of May, galloping for about week before breezing five furlongs in 1:00.40 on May 30. Her final Woodbine Oaks prep, a seven-furlong breeze in 1:31.40 under her regular rider Chantal Sutherland here last Saturday, sent mixed messages.

"She was out early, and the track was deep," Howard said. "I thought she'd probably be a bit more aggressive and breeze faster. She just galloped around there. But she came back and scoped well."

If all had gone according to plan, Resentless would have used either the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette on May 23 or the seven-furlong Lady Angela on May 24 as a stepping-stone to the Woodbine Oaks. Howard, however, isn't dwelling on what might have been.

"I think we're okay," he said. "She's got almost all her weight back on, and she's a lean horse anyway. Ideally, she would have had one more work in company. I have some reservations, because we haven't really tested her.

"I think she's fit enough, and because it looks like she'll relax a little better it should probably make things a little easier for her."

Roan Inish had been scheduled to use the Fury as her first step on the road toward the Woodbine Oaks and then move on to the La Lorgnette as her final tune-up. But Costigan, who had been with Roan Inish in Ireland when working as an assistant to trainer Jim Bolger, called an audible.

"The goal was always the Oaks," said Costigan, 28. "I didn't think she needed to meet open company in the La Lorgnette before being asked for her top game. We can try open company later."

Roan Inish has recorded four workouts since the Fury, beginning with a six-furlong work in 1:14 on May 15. Her next two works came over the dirt training track, including one at seven furlongs in 1:29.40 on May 22.

"I think the training track gets more into them, fitness-wise, when it's in good condition," Costigan said. "They can move over the Polytrack too easily."

Heavy rain led to the closing of the training track last Sunday, however, and Roan Inish breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 on Polytrack with Costigan aboard.

"It was very good," she said. "She worked in company, but she inherited the lead too quickly. She idled a little bit when she hit the front."

Jockey Davey Moran, Bolger's second rider in Ireland, partnered Roan Inish in both the Princess Elizabeth and Fury and will journey back across the pond for the Woodbine Oaks.

Dancingall Theway a stakes winner

Chantal Sutherland recorded her meet-leading sixth stakes win Wednesday night, when she rode Dancingall Theway to a three-quarter-length win in the $125,800 New Providence.

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Lorne Richards, Dancingall Theway recorded his eighth win and his first in a stakes.

"His feet were really bad last year," said Richards, who had sent out Dancingall Theway to win his season debut last year in a first-level allowance on May 2 but then had to give him a lengthy break after his second start.

Dancingall Theway returned to win for a $32,000 price Nov. 27 and made one more start here before being sent to Florida, where he raced twice at Gulfstream.

"He had a good winter in Florida," Richards said. "He seems to be doing good now."

The $125,000 Shepperton, a 6 1/2-furlong race here Aug. 4, is the next Ontario-sired sprint stakes for the division, and Dancingall Theway may not see action until then.

"He doesn't have to race much," Richards said.