08/21/2007 11:00PM

Play the King could see a surprise from Storm Caller


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Storm Caller seems to have discovered a new home on the grass and could make some serious noise when he faces seven rivals in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Play the King at seven furlongs on turf here at Woodbine.

"I think he can get his type of race on the turf," said Reade Baker, who trains the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old for Jim and Susan Hill. "When you run on Poly, you get a slow pace and they don't come back to you. It seems like on the turf you get a good pace, and they always come back."

Storm Caller finished fifth in his last stakes appearance, which came at six furlongs on turf in the Grade 3 Highlander here June 24. In his subsequent outing, a third-level allowance with an $80,000 claiming option, Storm Caller was up in time to score by a neck over the front-running As Expected.

Baker notes that Storm Caller received a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for that last win, a number that would make him competitive with the leading Play the King contenders.

"I think the seven-eighths thing will be his bag," said Baker. "Dreaming in Technicolor, if he runs his last race again, we'd go on to the Woodbine Mile."

The Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile will be run on the turf here Sept. 16.

New track on Vestrey Lady's radar

Baker also was looking forward to running Vestrey Lady in Friday's feature, a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance which is the prep for the $300,000 Canadian and attracted Canada's reigning Horse of the Year, Arravale.

The Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, will be run here Sept. 16.

"I don't know about the Canadian, going that far," said Baker. "I didn't really expect Friday's race to come up that tough, but I can make a decision on whether to go to the Canadian or go to Presque Isle."

Vestrey Lady's target at the new Erie, Pa., racetrack would be the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares on Sept. 15.

Sans Souci Island works on turf

The turf training course was open for business on Wednesday and trainer Roger Attfield was the best customer, sending out six of the 16 workers over the "good" going.

Sans Souci Island, continuing her preparations for the $125,000 Ontario Colleen here Sept. 1, worked six furlongs in 1:14.80.

Regular rider Richard Dos Ramos was aboard Sans Souci Island, who went in company with Moccasin Gap, a 3-year-old filly who was clocked in 1:14.60.

"We were happy with it," Attfield said of Sans Souci Island's work. "The dogs were out, and it's soft on the turns, so the times didn't mean a lot to me."

Red Birkin breezed four furlongs in 50.40 seconds here Wednesday morning under jockey Robert Landry.

"She went very nicely," said Attfield.

Red Birkin, a Kentucky-bred owned by Haras Santa Maria de Araras, also is eyeing the Ontario Colleen, a one-mile turf race for

3-year-old fillies.

Attfield's other turf workers were the maiden 3-year-old fillies Rosa Dos Ventos and Hip Hip Hooray and the maiden 2-year-old colt Not Bourbon.

Owned and bred in Ontario by Charles Fipke, Not Bourbon has started twice and is coming off a third-place finish in the six-furlong Vandal here Aug. 12.

"We just wanted to make a change with him," said Attfield. "He looked very happy about it. I haven't made my mind up what I'm doing with him next."

Turf training also is scheduled for this Friday and Sunday, but the course will then be given its annual break and will reopen on Sept. 12, weather permitting.

'Jimmy' trains for another try in Elgin

Meanwhile, over on the Polytrack, Attfield sent out Just in Case Jimmy to breeze five furlongs in 1:02 on Wednesday morning.

Just in Case Jimmy, a 6-year-old gelding who races for Attfield and partner Bill Werner, is riding the crest of back-to-back wins at 1 1/16 miles in the upper claiming ranks, and is slated to make his next start in the Elgin Stakes.

The Elgin, a 1 1/16-mile race for colts and geldings, 3 and up, will be one of six $125,000 yearling sales stakes run here on Sept. 3.

Just in Case Jimmy won the Elgin in 2004.

Almost showtime for fundraiser

Tickets are still available for the third annual fundraiser for the LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, which will be held in the trackside tent on Sept. 28.

The festivities include an open bar, dinner, silent and live auctions, and door prizes.

This year's theme will be a tribute to Motown as well as to the famed Apollo Theater. Hollywood Heaven will provide the entertainment.

Tickets can be purchased through the LongRun office at (416) 675-3993, ext. 3440.

* Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson will be at the Greenwood Teletheatre from 4 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 for an autograph and photo session. There will be no live racing here that day, which is the case on all Thursdays preceding holiday Mondays.