05/11/2010 11:00PM

Palladio should be sharp for prep


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Palladio possesses a fitness edge on his five opponents in Friday's featured sixth race at Woodbine, and should be effective if he bring his "A" game to the 1 1/16-mile no-conditions allowance that serves as the prep for the Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes on June 5.

Palladio won the Eclipse in 2007 and was Canada's champion 3-year-old in 2005, when he captured the Grade 2 Ohio Derby.

Palladio finished third in the voting for last year's champion older male in Canada. He wintered in Florida after taking the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes in November, and was a fast-closing second in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita in January.

Palladio was to be flown back to California in early March for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, but he never made the trip after throwing a fit at the airport before his flight.

Trainer Roger Attfield said Palladio acted up at the gate prior to his last start, the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland April 18, and he finished a nonthreatening fifth.

"He's a funny horse," Attfield said. "You've got to do everything right by him. When something upsets him and then you start to fight with him, that's usually the end of the game. He usually never runs his race any time after he [acts up] at the gate."

Richard Dos Ramos, who has been aboard for eight of Palladio's nine scores, has the mount on the 8-year-old.

Pool Play, a late bloomer trained by Mark Casse, has been rested since finishing 10th in the Santa Anita Handicap. In his previous start, he was eighth as the favorite in the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Handicap at Sam Houston.

Pool Play's lone stakes win came over nine furlongs here in October in the Grade 3 Durham Cup.

Attfield also entered Sligovitz, who has been idle since running fourth behind Palladio and Pool Play in the Nov. 14 Autumn.

Ice Bear edged out Palladio for second in the 2009 Sovereign Award voting for champion older male. The highlight of his campaign was a gutsy victory over eventual champion Marchfield in the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse.

Chantal Sutherland will ride Ice Bear, who is returning from a seven-month layoff after wintering in Florida.

Rounding out the field are Stunning Stag and Mike Fox, the 2007 Queen's Plate winner.