10/02/2001 11:00PM

Plate runner-up offered for a tag

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - I and I, winner of the Simcoe Stakes at 2 and runner-up in three stakes last year including the Queen's Plate, will be offered for a $32,000 claiming price when he makes his first start of the season at Woodbine Friday.

In fact, I and I has been race-ready for months but had not been allowed to start until a case regarding his ownership was resolved.

Wellesley Clayton had been listed as the trainer and sole owner of I and I, but Diana Yeboah had claimed she had an interest in the horse.

Both were suspended for one year this June, Clayton for failing to properly declare the ownership and Yeboah for failing to declare her interest and partnership.

Both lodged appeals, which were heard last Thursday, and the Ontario Racing Commission reduced the suspensions to six months, adding a $10,000 fine for Clayton and a $1,000 fine for Yeboah.

Yeboah's suspension took effect that day, but Clayton's will not begin until Oct. 9.

Kevin Attard to fill in for father

Kevin Attard left his position as assistant to his father, Tino Attard, to train for Stronach Stables this June. But the younger Attard, who trains a string of 2-year-olds at Adena Springs North while shuttling to and from Woodbine for races and workouts, also will be the trainer of record for his father's horses this month.

Tino Attard is sitting out a 30-day suspension, which began Oct. 1. The ban relates back to last October, when Foxy Red, who finished first in the Victorian Queen Stakes, tested positive for cromoglycate, a medication which is therapeutic but for which strict raceday controls are enforced.

Attard appealed the original ruling of the stewards, which also included a $1,000 fine, but the ORC dismissed the appeal at a hearing late this summer and suspended his license as an owner and trainer for the October dates.

Kevin Attard will be wearing his Stonach hat here Saturday when he sends out El Soprano, who will be a solid favorite in the Cup and Saucer Stakes.

One week from Sunday he should be subbing for his father, who trains a contingent of older Stronach runners, when the 3-year-old filly Royal Fact goes to the post in the $100,000 La Lorgnette Stakes.

Apprentice tries out Woodbine

Kevin Attard will be giving a leg up to Mario Velazquez, an apprentice jockey who checked in from Vancouver last week and will be making his Woodbine debut aboard Real Perfect in Friday's fourth race.

The 20-year-old Velasquez rode 26 winners from 232 mounts in his first full campaign at Hastings Park, the only racetrack at which he had ever ridden before finishing off the board with his first Ontario starter at Fort Erie on Tuesday.

Velazquez, born in Acapulco, Mexico, had no racing background when he came to British Columbia at age 18 and went to work on a farm for Dr. Bryan Anderson.

He soon hooked up with Richard Cloutier, a trainer who also happens to be an exercise rider of renown.

"He taught me all he knew," said Velazquez. "When I got my galloping license, early last year, he told me I should start riding in the fall."

Velazquez, who began his new career in October, had just four mounts at the 2000 Hastings meeting but was eighth in this year's standings when he departed for Toronto.

And he left on a high note, after riding two winners and guiding Princess Premier to a third-place finish in the Delta Colleen on Sept. 23.

Velazquez, who is being represented here by agent Mike Langlais, plans to start out in Vancouver again next year and give Toronto another whirl in the fall of 2002.

Boston Twist off to Keeneland

Boston Twist, a 2-year-old filly owned by William Schettine and trained by Josie Carroll, shipped out Wednesday for Friday's $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.

An impressive winner of her last two starts here, Boston Twist also had been under consideration for Saturday's Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont but Carroll has opted for the Grade 2 Alcibiades over the same 1 1/16-mile distance.

Carroll said the Keeneland race was chosen because she did not want to pit Boston Twist against the likes of Cashier's Dream and You in New York.

"I wanted to try her around two turns, and she wasn't ready for those," said Carroll. "This race will be tough enough."

Gary Boulanger, who has ridden Boston Twist in each of her three career starts, retains the mount.

Carroll, who will be at Keeneland Friday, will pop over to Philadelphia Park Saturday to saddle Sam Lord's Castle for the $150,000 Gallant Bob Stakes, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

Sam Lord's Castle, owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, will be making his first start since May, when he finished fourth in Aqueduct's Grade 3 Withers. Emile Ramsammy has the mount on Sam Lord's Castle, who won the Victoria here last year and the Lecomte at Fair Grounds in January.

Return trip to France

Choc Ice and Spring Oak, the 1-3 finishers here in last Sunday's E.P. Taylor Stakes, were winging their way back to France Wednesday along with Slew the Red, who ran eighth in the Canadian International.

Volga, who had accompanied the other French fillies on their trip west and was the Taylor runner-up in her first start for American owner Joseph Allen, will be heading down to Belmont and new trainer Christophe Clement.