07/12/2004 11:00PM

Plate busts still out to prove themselves

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - His Smoothness and Copper Trail, who finished fifth and ninth here in the June 27 Queen's Plate, each breezed five furlongs at Woodbine Tuesday morning and will be looking to redeem themselves in Sunday's $500,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie.

A 1 3/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, the Prince of Wales is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, which offers a $500,000 bonus for a sweep of the series. The final leg is the $500,000 Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race here Aug. 8.

His Smoothness, under jockey Jim McKnight, was clocked in 1:02.80 on the fast main track, and Copper Trail was clocked in 1:01 under regular rider Na Somsanith.

"My horse breezed excellent this morning," said McKnight, following Tuesday's workout. "I think he's probably on top of his game. You couldn't ask for a horse to be any better."

McKnight rode His Smoothness for the first time in the Queen's Plate and finished 9 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Niigon

"Having sat on him in a race once, I think I know him a little more," McKnight said. "He was hung wide on the first turn, and I probably might have strangled him a bit early. He only got beat a length for third."

His Smoothness was the second-longest shot in the Queen's Plate field, at 45-1. Copper Trail was the 10-1 fourth choice after finishing second to American-bred Organ Grinder here in the 1 1/8-mile Victoria Park two weeks earlier.

"In the Plate, he came out of the 2-hole," said Somsanith, after working Copper Trail on Tuesday. "I thought he would save ground. He came out of the gate in good order, but coming to the wire the first time, he jumped quite a few times. I tried to get him back in the race, but I couldn't. He's a lot better horse than that."

Somsanith said he also was pleased with Copper Trail's exercise Tuesday.

"He trained well," Somsanith said. "He's pretty alert this morning; he seems in good order."

His Smoothness and Copper Trail are trained by Jim Day, who won the Prince of Wales with Imperial Choice (1985), Regal Intention (1988), and subsequent Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly (1991) during his years as a private conditioner for Sam-Son Farm.

Others eyeing the Prince of Wales are A Bit O'Gold, Will He Crow, and Just in Case Jimmy, the second- through fourth-place finishers in the Queen's Plate; and Canadian Triple Crown newcomers One to Celebrate and Picadilly Bay.