11/11/2005 12:00AM

Plate's the goal for Thinking Out Loud

Michael Burns
Estevan, here winning the Labeeb, will be heading to Santa Anita with trainer Josie Carroll.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Coronation Futurity may have been run four days late, but it wasn't even one dollar short in terms of entertainment value as Thinking Out Loud prevailed in a thrilling three-horse finish here at Woodbine on Thursday.

Thinking Out Loud, owned by D. Morgan Firestone, emerged a neck the best under jockey Todd Kabel with Pyramid Park second and Shillelagh Slew another neck back in third. The race originally was part of a card lost to high winds here last Sunday. Edenwold, the odds-on favorite, finished a total of two lengths back in fourth after a troubled trip.

Thinking Out Loud, trained by David Bell, finished first for the third consecutive start, although he lost the first of those victories via a disqualification.

"I always liked him," said Bell. "He always trained like a nice horse. He hasn't made many mistakes since he got going long on dirt. The one mistake he made cost him his maiden win."

Thinking Out Loud, who got his official maiden win at 1 1/16 miles, was making his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

"He had to deal with stepping up in company, and he did," said Bell. "He had a perfect trip, but he still got it done the right way."

The Coronation Futurity, for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds, might seem to be a barometer for success in the following year's 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate. The record shows, however, that the last horse to win both races was Norcliffe, back in 1975 and 1976.

Bell trained two previous Coronation winners, Spigot in 1988 and Love View in 1996. Both horses came back in the Queen's Plate, with Spigot finishing 11th and Love View fifth.

"Spigot was one of those talented 2-year-olds who didn't really develop at 3," said Bell. "Love View was probably my best Plate horse. After the Coronation, I ended up running him in a stake at Calder and he fell down in a spill. He was never quite the same again."

Bell now will plan his approach to next year's Plate with Thinking Out Loud, who is nominated to the 1 1/16-mile Display Stakes here Nov. 26.

"He's probably not going to run, but we're not ruling it out," said Bell. "He'll go to Ocala for the winter, and come back for early racing."

Next for Pyramid Park and Shillelagh Slew?

Pyramid Park, winner of the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles on the grass a race before his second in the Coronation Futurity, could run back in the Display, trainer Michael Doyle said.

"He has a little bit of a tender shin," said Doyle. "If it's all right, he'll run. If it's not, he won't. He'll be going to Palm Meadows, and maybe run in Florida."

Shillelagh Slew also is nominated to the Display but is unlikely to participate.

"I'm the most disappointed man in Canada," said Mike DePaulo, who trains Shillelagh Slew, "I ran the best horse [in the Coronation Futurity], and ran third. He had a wide trip.

"Had he won, and we had to try to make a case for a Sovereign Award, we maybe would have brought him back in the Display. But now I think the risks may be too big compared to the gain."

Edenwold's Coronation Futurity trip a nightmare

Trainer Josie Carroll and jockey David Clark would argue that Edenwold was the unluckiest of the unlucky in the Coronation Futurity.

"Going past the wire the first time, a horse outside him made a left turn into him," said Carroll, who trains Edenwold. "David thought he was going down.

"The horse was a little stunned and took a long time to get his feet under him. He dropped back to last, but then he made a tremendous run. His first time going two turns, that was an awful lot to overcome. Fortunately, he came out of the race okay."

Edenwold is nominated to the Display, but Carroll is concerned about bringing the colt back on such relatively short notice.

"He's had a long, hard campaign," said Carroll. "I'm delighted with the horse. I think he proved he's a two-turn horse. That's what we needed to see, and we're looking forward to next year."

Edenwold will be among 20 horses Carroll will be taking to Santa Anita, where she will be competing for the first time this winter. Another horse she's taking is Estevan, the 4-year-old colt who became a stakes winner in the $115,800 Labeeb here Thursday.

The Labeeb, originally scheduled for a mile on the turf, was switched to the main track and was run at a mile and 70 yards.

"I really thought he had shown a preference for turf, but he had run some excellent races on dirt in the past," said Carroll. "He's grown by leaps and bounds in terms of maturity this year. He'll continue on for the winter."

Carroll, who has been a regular at Fair Grounds in recent years, also will be sending six horses to the Fair Grounds at Louisiana Downs meet.

That contingent will include the Louisiana-breds Mr. Sulu, a 7-year-old gelding, and Mr. Zulu (no relation), a 2-year-old gelding.

Mr. Sulu will be looking to make his fifth consecutive appearance - and record his third victory - in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf Stakes. Mr. Zulu made a winning debut for a $20,000 claiming price here recently.