05/12/2009 11:00PM

Parabola lone Plate prospect in Marine

Michael Burns
Parabola takes a step toward the Queen's Plate in the Marine Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Marine Stakes has served as an important prep for the Queen's Plate, with horses such as Wando in 2003 and Victor Cooley in 1996 using the race as their final stepping-stone to Woodbine's $1 million showpiece for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

But the only Canadian-bred in this year's Marine, to be run Saturday, is Parabola. The 1 1/16-mile Marine is an open race for 3-year-olds.

A homebred who races for Janet Jeanpierre and is trained by Barbara Minshall, Parabola will be looking to work his way back into the picture for the June 21 Queen's Plate after opening the season on a bit of a down note.

Minshall had planned to begin Parabola's campaign in the April 25 Wando over 1 1/16 miles but had to scrap that plan after the gelding suffered an adverse reaction to Lasix and was pulled up during his final scheduled workout for that stakes.

Resurfacing instead in the seven-furlong Queenston here May 2, Parabola was in touch early but weakened to finish last in the field of seven.

"The race didn't set up for him; there wasn't much pace," said Minshall. "But he came out of the race fine, and he worked great the other day."

Parabola tuned up for the Marine with five furlongs in 1:00.40 here last Sunday and now will return to the distance at which he won the restricted Kingarvie in his last of six starts as a 2-year-old.

"He's coming into this race good," said Minshall. "I'll run him here and, if I'm going to run him in the Queen's Plate, I'll run him in the Plate Trial too.

"I haven't had the shot for a while. He's going to be ready if he's good enough. I'm pretty sure the horse is a stayer."

Minshall's last contestant in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate was Rabbit In a Hat, who finished ninth in 1997.

Road trips for Attfield's turfers

Trainer Roger Attfield has a shed row replete with talented turf runners and will be sending a few on the road to avoid congestion on the local front.

Musketier, coming off a second-place finish behind stablemate Spice Route in the Grade 2 Elkhorn over 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland, has been entered in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Dixie at Pimlico.

A 7-year-old horse who was bred in Germany, Musketier will be seeking his first North American score in the Grade 2 Dixie, over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Spice Route is slated to return to Kentucky for the Grade 3, $100,000 Louisville Handicap. He finished second here in last year's Grade 1 Canadian International over 1 1/2 miles and won the Grade 3, 1 1/8-mile Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder.

The Grade 3 Louisville, a 1 1/2-mile race worth $100,000, will be run at Churchill Downs on May 23.

Russian Rosie, coming off a close fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Bewitch over 1 1/2 miles on the turf at Keeneland on April 23, could travel to Belmont for the May 23 Sheepshead Bay.

The Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay, a 1 3/8-mile race for fillies and mares, offers a purse of $150,000.

Locally, Attfield is aiming Society's Chairman for the May 24 Connaught Cup and Callwood Dancer for the May 30 Nassau.

Both the Grade 3, $150,000 Connaught Cup and the Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau are 1 1/16-mile turf races.

Passager, a 6-year-old gelding who has made three starts for Attfield and finished a strong second last time out in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile on the turf at Keeneland, also is nominated to the Connaught Cup but could opt for Monday's $150,000 Vigil, a Grade 3 race over seven furlongs on Polytrack.

Attfield notes that Passager finished third in each of two tries over a synthetic surface at France's Deauville and has worked well on Polytrack here.

"I've got an open mind on him; I'll see which way I go," said Attfield.

Rapid Release, another recent addition to the Attfield stable, is scheduled to make his next start in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here May 31.

Owned by Dolantori Racing, Rapid Release raced in England at 2 and has finished on the fringes in three first-level allowance tries for Attfield between April 5 and May 3. After running fourth over 1 1/16 miles on grass at Keeneland, Rapid Release ended third over 1 1/16 miles here April 26 and returned a week later to run fifth at the same distance.

"It was a bit quick back but I don't know if it affected him. I don't think so," said Attfield. "I did that because I wanted to run him in the Trial, and I wanted to learn a bit more about him."

* Jim Mazur will be back at Woodbine on Saturday to host a one-hour handicapping seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand. The focus will be on the Preakness and attendees will be given copies of Mazur's "Preakness Zone," "Woodbine Simulcast Handicapper," and "Sire Ratings 09/10."

* There will be no advance wagering on Saturday's Pimlico card but Woodbine will be offering the two-day double comprising Friday's Black-Eyed Susan and the Preakness.