06/30/2004 11:00PM

Plate team tries to keep rolling


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Chief-swood Stable, trainer Eric Coatrieux, and jockey Robert Landry basked in the glory of winning the $1 million Queen's Plate last Sunday with Niigon. They could win another stakes Saturday at Woodbine, when the royally bred Ambitious Cat competes in the first running of the Hill 'n' Dale, a $109,500 race for 3-year-old fillies.

The owners of the first three finishers in the 1 1/16-mile event will receive a season to one of three stallions who stand at Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Kentucky. The stallions are Theatrical, who stood for a fee of $75,000 this year, El Corredor ($20,000), and Doneraile Court ($15,000).

Hill 'n' Dale president John Sikura said he wanted to sponsor a Woodbine stakes to help support the local racing industry.

"The stallions that we are providing are world-class," said Sikura, "so this will give those people who [run in the race] a chance to breed to a significant stallion. We see this as a multi-year commitment and plan."

Ambitious Cat, a daughter of North America's premier sire, Storm Cat, is a full sister to Storm Cat Stakes winner February Storm. She is also a half-sister to Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Blushing K.D.

Ambitious Cat finished second when she debuted on the turf at Gulfstream. After a two-month layoff, she won her maiden by six lengths in the slop here on May 23.

Last time, in a 1 1/16-mile allowance, Ambitious Cat set moderate fractions before ducking in sharply at the top of the stretch. She lost ground after brushing the rail, but came back on to salvage second. Landry believes that a combination of things led Ambitious Cat to lose her focus in the race.

"A horse came up to her, and I was cocking my stick at the same time," Landry said. "She ducked, and I was lucky to stay on. She's a horse who wants somebody to compete with, and when she loses that competition, she comes off the bridle a little. If she had a couple more jumps, she would have gotten the job done."

My Lordship, who is unbeaten in three starts, is the probable favorite. Trained by Malcolm Pierce, she won her first two outings, on the main track, in November, and defeated older rivals two weeks ago in a six-furlong allowance on the grass.

Sweet Problem also should be strongly backed off her recent turf victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Alywow Stakes.