07/04/2008 12:00AM

Palladio nearly race-ready

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - While potential champion Not Bourbon has been trainer Roger Attfield's horse in the spotlight thus far this season, former champion Palladio has been quietly preparing for a comeback.

Palladio, who won the Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding 3-year-old in 2005 and was the runner-up in the older male balloting last year, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 here at Woodbine on Friday morning

"He's getting close," said Attfield. "He's about three works away from running."

In a busy campaign last year, Palladio ran 11 times with his lone success coming in the Grade 3 Eclipse over 1 1/16 miles.

Palladio also finished second in the Seagram and third in the Dominion Day en route to banking $180,674 and then headed to Attfield's winter headquarters at Payson Park in Florida.

"He hurt himself down there, and consequently we're behind schedule," said Attfield. "He's doing very well right now."

Palladio's return would be a shot in the arm for the division after Tuesday's Dominion Day went with just four horses following the late scratch of Sterwins, who had come back sore from a morning jog.

Sterwins's ailment a mystery

Malcolm Pierce, who trains Sterwins, had no definitive answers regarding the gelding's status as of Friday morning.

"We haven't really come up with anything strong on him yet," said Pierce. "His X-rays are negative but he's still sore, which is strange. He's just walked since Tuesday; I would have thought he'd be coming around and be somewhat better by now.

"We really don't know what we're dealing with, but we know it's not a foot or an ankle or a knee."

Sterwins, who recorded the biggest win of his career in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland on April 20, finished second in the Eclipse in his next and most recent appearance here June 7.

Jones appeals one suspension

Jockey Jono Jones, suspended for three days apiece for two disqualifications on Tuesday's card, has appealed one of the penalties.

The first disqualification came in the third race after the stewards ruled that Jones, aboard Natural Mystic, had come in deep in the stretch and interfered with Box Office Launch. Natural Mystic finished second but was disqualified and placed last in the field of eight.

Jones, riding Deli Lama, had his number taken down again in the eighth race after the stewards ruled he had come out in front of Miss McDreamy and bothered that rival in midstretch. Deli Lama finished second but was disqualified and placed third.

Jones has appealed the Natural Mystic suspension, which was scheduled for Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

He will serve the Deli Lama ban, but with an asterisk. That suspension is scheduled for Friday through next Sunday but Jones naturally plans to exercise his option to ride Not Bourbon in the $500,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie next Sunday and take his enforced day off the following Wednesday.

Krz Exec tries turf in comeback

Trainer Mike DePaulo will send out a disparate pair in Krz Exec and Black Mink for Sunday's $150,000 Ontario Damsel, a 6 1/2-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

Krz Exec is a double stakes winner of $210,000 who will be making her first start of the season in the Ontario Damsel.

Black Mink will be looking for her third consecutive win in the Ontario Damsel but her successes came at the $32,000 and $40,000 claiming levels.

Two things the fillies do have in common are that both will be trying turf for the first time and both have shown their best form at 1 1/16 miles.

Krz Exec was unplaced in her first three starts at 2 but was perfect in her next three, all around two turns, including the 1 1/16-mile South Ocean and 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie.

"She's really doing well now," said DePaulo. "She's had a few setbacks since last fall - a bone bruise, and a pus pocket.

"She never really showed a lot sprinting last year, but she worked well on turf the other week."

Krz Exec, breezing on the training turf course for the first time, was clocked in 1:00 for five furlongs here June 8.

Black Mink, supplemented to the Ontario Damsel at a cost of $3,000, had been badly beaten in her two starts last year and her 2008 debut before putting it all together when stretching out for the first time here May 23.

"She used to show a lot of speed and stop going short," said DePaulo. "Since she stretched out, she goes for the lead and keeps rolling.

"I really don't know how that will translate going 6 1/2 furlongs, on turf. She may come from off the pace a bit."

Two overnight stakes added this month

Woodbine has added a pair of overnight stakes for fillies and mares to its schedule this month.

The $100,000 Repercussion, a 6 1/2-furlong turf race, is scheduled for Wednesday evening with the $100,000 Scotzanna, at six furlongs on the main track, slated for July 18.

The Repercussion, which attracted 40 nominees, is a prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North, a 6 1/2- furlong turf race here Aug. 2.

Royal North was a top sprinter here in the late 1970s. Her dam's name was Repercussion.

Scotzanna was Canada's champion 3-year-old filly and champion sprinter in 1995.

Overnight stakes here require a minimum of five entrants to be carded.

* An eBay auction of saddlecloths worn by this year's Queen's Plate starters has raised $7,500 for the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its monthly meeting here Wednesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Champions area.