06/19/2006 11:00PM

Plate cast all present and accounted for

Email

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Shillelagh Slew put the finishing touches on his preparations for Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate here at Woodbine on Tuesday, breezing five furlongs on the main track in 1:00.20 under regular rider Dino Luciani.

"He worked under a real nice hold, right on the bridle, and he galloped out real well," said Mike DePaulo, who trains Shillelagh Slew for David James.

"We're ready to go."

Shillelagh Slew is one of 13 expected to be entered on Thursday for the Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

There is plenty of grassroots support here for Shillelagh Slew, who certainly does not appear to be lacking in talent but will be facing a tall order making just his second start of the season and his first in eight weeks following a seven-furlong allowance victory.

Wanna Runner, who is based in California with Bob Baffert, will be favored in the Queen's Plate, with Malakoff, trained here by Brian Lynch, topping the local contingent off his smashing victory in the 1 1/16-mile Marine at Woodbine on May 20.

The two-tiered draw for the Queen's Plate, in which connections will first draw for their order of selection and then choose their own post positions, will take place in the walking ring at the annual Queen's Plate breakfast.

Pipers Thunder, who checked in from his Chiefswood Farm base on Monday, and Sterwins, who arrived from Belmont late that evening, were the last Queen's Plate prospects to arrive on the grounds.

Under the terms of Woodbine's new big-race surveillance policy, which is being applied for the first time in this year's Queen's Plate, all prospective Queen's Plate entrants were required to be on the grounds by 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 48 hours before the taking of entries for the race.

A total of 14 horses are under surveillance for the Plate, including Stormkick, who is trained by Mike Doyle and not expected to start.

The surveillance program has been scaled down significantly from its originally announced provisions, which included round-the-clock security assigned to each horse.

Now a Woodbine security team headed by Mike Dick, the track's security services investigator, will be conducting spot checks on the Queen's Plate horses up until the morning of the race.

Continuous surveillance on each horse will begin early Sunday morning, with Woodbine's security staff being joined by members of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau.

On Tuesday morning, Woodbine's director of racing, Tom Cosgrove, was making the rounds with security staff and officials from Vita-Tech Laboratories, who were taking blood samples from the Queen's Plate horses.

Dr. Jack McCall, a veterinarian employed by Vita-Tech, took six vials of blood from each horse. The samples will be shipped to Vita-Tech headquarters in Markham, some 25 miles east of here.

"We'll start testing them over the course of the next few days," said Richard Tso, Vita-Tech's vice-president of racing operations, adding that one sample from each horse will be frozen for possible future examination.