Updated on 09/17/2011 11:46AM

Peef and Solihull Queen's Plate longshots


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Peef and Solihull may seem like better candidates to fill out the bottom of the superfecta than to win Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate.

But both Peef's conditioner, Rita Schnitzler, and Solihull's trainer, David Bell, are not about to concede anything as their runners head into the biggest day of their young careers.

Both Peef and Solihull enter the Plate after running in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, where Peef ended up third, beaten 10 1/2 lengths by the victorious Mobil, and Solihull was beaten a total of almost 30 lengths as the last-place finisher in the field of six.

Peef, purchased privately this spring by the Arosa Stable of Jurgen Schemmer, was making his second start for Schnitzler in the May 31 Trial after finishing fourth in an entry-level allowance race at seven furlongs here three weeks earlier.

"He'd had no long race this year," Schnitzler said. "I hope he's going to flourish from that first one."

Schnitzler believes Peef will have no problem with the Plate weight of 126 pounds, which he already has carried under the scale weight terms of the Trial, or the testing 1 1/4-mile distance.

"I think he can carry the weight; he's a nice, big strong horse," Schnitzler said.

"And I think he can handle the Plate distance, no problem. He gallops right along, a couple of miles a day.

"It's a matter of his handling the company."

Peef signaled that improvement may be forthcoming in his final Plate tune-up, when he worked four furlongs in a bullet 47.20 seconds under his new jockey Steven Bahen here last Sunday.

"He's doing really well," Schnitzler said. "I'm happy with him; everything's a go."

Schnitzler has been around the money in three previous Plate tries, sending out runner-up Brite Adam in 1998, third-place finisher Kristy Krunch in 1996, and fourth-place Lenny the Lender in 1999. Her only Plate starter who did not bring home a check was Tempolake, in 1997.

"Maybe it's my turn to get lucky this year," Schnitzler said.

Arosa also has had surprisingly good results with its two previous Plate starters, both of whom were fillies.

Gandria finished second at 67-1 in 1999 and Asia, a maiden, finished fourth at 80-1 in 2001.

Bahen also is no stranger to a Plate longshot, having won last year's renewal aboard 82-1 T J's Lucky Moon.

Solihull can rebound

Solihull, owned and bred by Les Pereira, went into the Trial as a possible star on the rise.

The colt had recorded back-to-back victories at 1 1/16 miles in his first two starts of the year, winning a maiden special weight race here April 26 and a first-level allowance race May 18. He rallied from well off the pace on each occasion.

And while the wheels fell off in the Trial, Bell believes his charge deserves this second chance.

"That was a throwout race," Bell said. "It was showering a bit that day, and they'd sealed the track the race before. Apparently, he really didn't like it.

"He was making his run and then just threw the towel in, quickly. It was like something had happened. He had a little bit of mucus after, but that doesn't usually stop them that fast."

Bell has been encouraged by the manner in which Solihull has trained in the interim, and also believes the Plate distance and pace scenario could work in his favor.

"I think the further he goes, the better he gets," Bell said. "And the other day [in the Trial], he was closer than he's been all year. The pace was slow, and they finished fast. I think the Plate sets up better than the Plate Trial. There's more speed."

Bell will be participating in his sixth Plate, with his best previous result a fifth-place finish with Love View in 1997.

Rare Friends breezes

Rare Friends, off since winning the six-furlong Jacques Cartier here April 11, breezed five furlongs in a bullet 58.20 seconds under regular rider Patrick Husbands Thursday.

Owned by his trainer, Bob Tiller, in partnership with Frank DiGiulio, Rare Friends is slated to make his next appearance in the $60,000 Parnitha, a six-furlong race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds and up at Fort Erie July 1.

"We operated on his throat," Tiller said. "He's doing good now."

'Family Fun Day' benefits charity

Woodbine will offer a free continental breakfast at the trackside tent from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday morning, with Daily Racing Form contributor Jennifer Morrison-Learn and Woodbine television personalities Jeff Bratt and Sandy Hawley on hand to provide commentary.

Backstretch tours will also be available, leaving the trackside tent during the same time period.

Saturday also will be the annual "Family Fun Day" with proceeds going to CARD, the Community Association for Riding for the Disabled. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free attractions will include a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, kids shows, and a foot race on the turf course featuring some of Woodbine's top jockeys.

* Woodbine and its teletheaters will offer simulcast wagering on Saturday's Ohio Derby from Thistledown. Post time for the Ohio Derby is approximately 5:27 p.m.