08/29/2007 12:00AM

Ontario Colleen attracts 15


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Saturday's $125,000 Ontario Colleen Stakes at Woodbine is proving to be a popular offering, as 15 3-year-old fillies flooded the entry box for the one-mile turf race.

Three of the entrants are trained by Roger Attfield - Red Birkin, Sans Souci Island, and Callwood Dancer.

"They all have different owners," Attfield said. "They all deserve a chance to run for them."

Red Birkin, owned and bred Haras Santa Maria de Araras, is the most accomplished of the three.

Red Birkin was beaten just a half-length as the third-place finisher in Keeneland's Appalachian over one mile on the turf this April. The winner, Audacious Chloe, is one of three shippers in the Ontario Colleen lineup.

Then, after winning a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Woodbine, Red Birkin shipped to Monmouth for the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at 1 1/16 miles on grass and finished first - but was disqualified and placed third.

Rutherienne, who was moved into the top spot, went on to win Saratoga's Grade 3 Lake George and the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, and is now 7 for 8 lifetime.

Red Birkin also returned in the Lake George, and finished eighth.

"She bled badly and got very worked up about it all," said Attfield. "We've got to throw that race out."

Red Birkin has worked twice since the July 27 Lake George, and Attfield is confident that her problems are behind her.

"She's fit as a flea," said Attfield.

Sans Souci Island, owned by Bill Graham, also disappointed in her latest. She finished seventh as the third choice at just under 5-2 in the Wonder Where for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

"She might have had a little bit of heat prostration," said Attfield. "Something wasn't quite right.

"But, she's come back and worked really well."

Sans Souci Island won her first two starts over 1 1/16 miles of turf and was trying 1 1/4 miles on the turf in the Wonder Where.

"We've got to shorten up a little bit," said Attfield.

Callwood Dancer, owned by Harlequin Ranches, is coming off a first-level allowance win over 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Bred in Ireland, Callwood Dancer won her maiden over seven furlongs on turf in her season debut, then finished third in her first two allowance attempts.

"I think she's getting better all the time," said Attfield. "She deserves a shot at it."

Quiet Action done for season

Quiet Action, who would have been one of the leading contenders in the Ontario Colleen, has been put away for the season.

An Ontario-bred owned by Bill Farish Jr., Quiet Action became a stakes winner July 8 in the Ontario Damsel at 6 1/2 furlongs over "good" turf.

"She came out of that race really stiff," said Casse. "She really doesn't have anything physically wrong. She just hasn't trained as good as I'd like.

"We were planning on sending her home after this race, anyway."

Sealy Hill staying put

Sealy Hill, who won the Wonder Where in her turf debut, was supposed to ship to Belmont for next Saturday's Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup but will not be making the trip. Instead, Sealy Hill will stay home to take on older fillies and mares in the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian over 1 1/8 miles of turf on Sept. 16.

"I think it's a nice step," said Casse, who trains Sealy Hill. "This way we can see where we're at without having to ship her down and back and then deciding we want to ship again.

"If she runs really well, it will set her up well for something on down the road for the fall. We have a lot of options."

Casse mentioned the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland on Oct. 13, as one possible target for Sealy Hill.

The Canadian also is the major local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor over 1 1/4 miles of turf here Oct. 21.

"I think she'll be tough," said Casse. "She's training quite well."

Bishop Court Hill checks in

Bishop Court Hill, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Melnyk Racing Stable, checked into Casse's barn on Wednesday and is aiming for the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic here Oct.o21.

"I'm excited about getting him," said Casse.

Bishop Court Hill, previously trained by Todd Pletcher, has not raced since finishing a close fifth in the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at six furlongs at Nad Al Sheeba on March 31.

A winner of 9 of 31 career starts, including Aqueduct's Grade 1 Carter in the spring of 2006, Bishop Court Hill would be seeking his first win on turf in the six-furlong Nearctic, but he has had only three starts on the grass.

"His turf races have all been at five furlongs, and the last one was almost three years ago," Casse said. "He trained quite well on the turf at Winding Oaks."

Bishop Court Hill has been gearing up for his return at Winding Oaks, the Melnyks' farm in Florida.

In one visit to Woodbine, Bishop Court Hill finished in a dead heat for second in the six-furlong Kennedy Road on the penultimate day of the 2005 meeting.

Horsemen on 'Stars & Dogs'

Glenn Sikura, president of the Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society and owner of Hill 'n' Dale Farm, and owner-breeder Richard Lister, a CTHS director, will be featured guests on Friday's "Stars & Dogs" on the Business News Network.

The show, which airs at 6 p.m. Eastern, will focus on alternative investment opportunities such as the upcoming CTHS yearling sale here at Woodbine.

The selected session of the sale will be held on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The preferred session is Sept. 8 at 4:30 p.m.

"It's always exciting to have an opportunity to discuss this type of investment," said Sikura.

"While everyone nowadays seems to know about stocks, bonds and mutual funds, not many understand how rewarding, both financially and personally, investing in a racehorse can be."