07/26/2005 11:00PM

Palladio likely to run in W. Virginia Derby

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Roger Attfield has been mulling over his options with Palladio, the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old who captured the Ohio Derby at Thistledown in his last start, July 2.

"He had a little viral infection after that race," said Attfield, "but he's coming back well."

Attfield is leaning toward the Grade 3, $750,000 West Virginia Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race at Mountaineer Race Track on Aug. 14, for Palladio's next start.

A good performance in the West Virginia Derby could propel Palladio onward to the Pennsylvania Derby, a Grade 2, $750,000 race over 1 1/8 miles at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 5.

Stakes-placed maiden working well

Area Limits, an Attfield-trained maiden who was the official second-place finisher after being interfered with in the July 16 Toronto Cup, drilled a sharp five furlongs in 1:00 on the training track Wednesday with an eye toward the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes.

"He worked exceptionally well," said Attfield. "He doesn't usually work very well on dirt, but before the Toronto Cup he also worked very nicely."

Area Limits ended third as the only Canadian-bred in the field of five for the Toronto Cup, an open race over 1 1/8 miles on turf, but was placed second upon the disqualification of original runner-up, Bestowed.

A colt by Boundary out of the Affirmed mare Affirmative Choice, Area Limits finished third in last year's Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of "good" turf, and second in two maiden specials on the grass this year.

The Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race, is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Ablo no certainty for Breeders'

Ablo won the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, after running fifth here in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate.

"He's doing very well," said Attfield. "He came out of the Prince of Wales like he hadn't even run."

While Ablo is paid up for the Breeders', Attfield is noncommittal regarding the colt's participation.

"I nominated him to see what I think as we get closer to the race," said Attfield. "We don't have to make any big decision anytime soon."

Attfield also plans to nominate Ablo for the $75,000 Izvestia, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward here Aug. 13. But the Izvestia is an overnight stakes, and can be scrapped if it fails to attract an adequate number of betting interests.

"There isn't a whole lot else here, but there are a lot of options in the States," noted Attfield.

Wonder Where field taking shape

Mariaburg, who is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Ontario Damsel over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf on July 10, is slated to represent Attfield here in Sunday's $250,000 Wonder Where.

The Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, is the final leg of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Gold Strike won the first leg, the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks, but was freshened up after finishing third in the Queen's Plate and was not nominated to the Wonder Where. Her return target is the Grade 3 Duchess, an open seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies here Aug. 13.

Ready and Alluring, runner-up in the Woodbine Oaks, won the next jewel in the tiara, the 1 1/16-mile Bison City at Fort Erie. She was nominated to the Wonder Where but is aiming for the Grade 3, $100,000 Monmouth Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies on Aug. 14.

That leaves Skippingall Theway, the Bison City runner-up, as one of the fillies to beat in the Wonder Where.

Victorious Ami, third in both the Woodbine Oaks and Bison City, is also slated to participate. See the Wind, runner-up in the Ontario Damsel for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad, is another leading candidate.

Stakes nominees opt for allowance

Coastal Fortress and Archie's Gal both were nominated to the Wonder Where but will go in an Ontario-sired filly and mare allowance for nonwinners-of-three here Friday.

Coastal Fortress and Archie's Gal finished one-two here last November in the South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired fillies, and are the only 3-year-olds in Friday's $73,500 headliner.

Both are coming off good efforts at this distance, with Coastal Fortress having finished second to graded stakes winner Higher World and Arcie's Gal having romped in an Ontario-sired allowance for nonwinners-of-two.

* There will be racing here on Monday with the Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North, a six-furlong turf handicap for fillies and mares, scheduled as the holiday feature. There is no racing on the Thursdays following holiday Mondays.