07/12/2011 12:58PM

Prince of Wales getting new blood from Keogh barn


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Five of the seven probable starters for Sunday’s Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie will be coming out of the Queen’s Plate.

But there will be some fresh blood in the mix thanks to trainer Mike Keogh, who planned to enter both Oban and Welloiledmachine on Wednesday for the $500,0000 Prince of Wales.

The Prince of Wales, which will be run over 1 3/16 miles on Fort Erie’s dirt surface and is the second leg of the triple crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, also should attract Queen’s Plate returnees Hippolytus (second), Pender Harbour (third), Bowman’s Causeway (fourth), Check Your Soul (seventh), and Oh Canada (13th).

Oban and Welloiledmachine both were paid up for the $1 million Queen’s Plate, but Keogh elected to bypass the 1 1/4-mile opening leg of the Canadian triple.

“I was thinking about the Plate for him, but then he ran a clunker,” said Keogh, who also owns a piece of Oban in partnership with the gelding’s breeder, Gustav Schickedanz, along with Gerry Kenny and Don Howard.

Oban, who raced just once as a 2-year-old, had performed encouragingly in his first two starts this spring, but then finished a nonthreatening seventh in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race here May 29, in which a good performance could have stamped his passport for the Queen’s Plate.

“It was just too tough to put him in there, off that race,” said Keogh.

Oban bounced back three weeks later, however, as he rallied to be beaten a nose by the Kentucky-bred 3-year-old Peasant in a 1 3/16-mile maiden race.

“He ran huge,” said Keogh. “He probably should have won.”

The much-in-demand Luis Contreras rode Oban that day but has opted for Pender Harbour in the Prince of Wales. and Emile Ramsammy has picked up the mount.

Ramsammy was in the irons last Sunday when Oban breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 here on the dirt training track.

Welloiledmachine breezed five furlongs in a separate move over the same surface, going in 1:02 under jockey Jim McAleney.

“They’d worked together the week before,” said Keogh, who had sent out Oban and Welloiledmachine to breeze five furlongs in 1:00.40 on the training track here July 2 and caught the pair galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.20.

“I didn’t want them doing that again, a week before the race.”

Welloiledmachine, a son of Mobil, races for the wife-and-husband team of Christine and Dennis Windsor.

Christine Windsor groomed Mobil, who was a Canadian champion at age 4 and earned more than $1.95 million for Keogh and Schickedanz.

“That’s why they bought him as a yearling,” said Keogh, noting that Welloiledmachine had been knocked down to the Windsors for $17,000 at the preferred session of the local yearling sale.

Welloiledmachine, who is Ontario-sired, raced twice as a 2-year-old and won his maiden in a restricted seven-furlong race in his second outing.

Unplaced in his first two appearances here this spring, Welloiledmachine was sent to Fort Erie for a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance race on June 19 and finished a solid second behind the 4-year-old Who We Gunna Call.

“We wanted to try him on the dirt. I don’t think the Polytrack’s been very kind to him,” said Keogh.

Sticking to winning plan

Keogh will be making his fourth appearance in the Prince of Wales and sports a 1-2-0 record.

Firm Dancer was his first representative, finishing second in 1996, and Queen’s Plate winner Woodcarver ended the runner-up in 1999.

And then there was Wando, an easy winner of the Prince of Wales en route to capturing the Canadian triple crown in 2003.

Keogh, who is superstitious even about being superstitious, plans to send down Oban and Welloiledmachine on Sunday morning.

“The only time I won it was when I went down the day of the race,” said Keogh.

Artic Fern sidelined again

Artic Fern, the talented Keogh/Schickedanz 4-year-old who was sidelined while expected to play a prominent role in last year’s Queen’s Plate, again has had his career interrupted.

After returning with an impressive win under classified allowance terms over seven furlongs of Polytrack here April 30, Artic Fern had finished a solid fourth when making his turf and stakes debut in the one-mile King Edward on June 25.

“He came out of it bad again,” said Keogh. “We couldn’t find anything on X-ray, or scintigraphy. There were no fractures, but he lit up on two spots on his shin.

“We hope to have him back going by the end of the month.”

Apprentice opts for eating

Cassandra Garcea came into the 2011 Woodbine meeting intent on making her presence felt in the apprentice riding ranks.

But, Garcea wound up competing in just 27 races here and one at Fort Erie and hung up her tack a couple of weeks ago.

“I’m taking a bit of a break,” said the 29-year-old Garcea, who is working as an exercise rider for trainer Darwin Banach. “I’m doing it mostly for my health, and my sanity.

“I’m having problems keeping my weight down. It’s hard work – I had to work out every day, and eat very little. It’s really hard on the body.

“Right now, I’m happy just galloping horses in the morning and being able to eat.”

Garcea won four races here last fall and had her 10-pound apprentice allowance halved after registering her fifth victory here May 27.

Mazur onhand for Spa tips

The Saratoga meeting opens next Friday, and noted handicapping author Jim Mazur will be on hand here Saturday, July 23 for a “Winning at Saratoga” seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand.

Free copies of Mazur’s “Winning at Saratoga” will be available while supplies last.

Contest offers championship berth

Mazur also will be here Sunday, July 24 to host the Saratoga Handicapping Challenge, which will take place in the trackside tent.

Cash prizes totaling up to $27,500, based on a minimum of 275 entries, will be available and the winner will earn a berth in next year’s $2 million Daily Racing Form /National Thoroughbred Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas, provided that he or she is a NHC tour member.

Mazur will host the contest and also will participate, with any prize money he may earn going to charity.

For details and registration visit the second-floor customer service desk here or log on to WoodbineEntertainment.com/Handicapping Series

◗ Tickets are on sale for the sixth annual Race Track Chaplaincy of Ontario golf tournament.

The festivities will begin at 12 p.m. on Monday, July 25, at nearby Glen Eagle Golf Course and the $150 per ticket cost includes lunch, golf, dinner, and a silent auction.

Registration and additional information areavailable from Chaplain Shawn Kennedy at (905) 713-4783.