06/09/2005 11:00PM

Queenledo a serious intimidator

Vassar Photography
Snorter, here winning last year's Berkeley BC at Golden Gate, is now in Tim McCanna's barn and may start in the Budweiser-Emerald.

AUBURN, Wash. - Only five 3-year-old fillies will line up against Queenledo in Sunday's Irish Day Handicap, and if she wins that one-mile test in the same fashion that she won the last two stakes for the division, there will be even fewer willing to take her on in the future.

Queenledo, a daughter of Slewdledo trained by Tim McCanna, was utterly dominant in the six-furlong U.S. Bank Stakes and the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap, winning by 2 1/4 lengths and 5 3/4 lengths. The only thing that encourages her rivals on Sunday is that she ran poorly in her only previous mile try, finishing sixth to A Classic Life in last year's Barbara Shinpoch Stakes.

McCanna doesn't feel they should be too encouraged, however.

"She just about got put over the rail turning for home in that race, and she was making a big move at the time," he said. "She still has to prove she can go a mile, but I'll be awfully surprised if she can't. With the way she is relaxing now and the way she finished in her last race, she really shouldn't have any problem."

Nonetheless, McCanna will saddle one of Queenledo's challengers in the Irish Day. That is Gins Majesty, a daughter of Go for Gin who is coming off back to back wins over maiden special weight company at 5 1/2 furlongs and allowance company at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"She could be the sleeper in the field," said the trainer. "I was surprised she was even able to win sprinting. The Go for Gins usually don't get good until they go long."

McCanna should know. His best older horse, Poker Brad, is by Go for Gin and has posted all eight of his career wins around two turns.

McCanna said he bought a third yearling by Go for Gin, who won the 1994 Kentucky Derby, at last September's Keeneland sale. The 2-year-old gelding is in training here.

McCanna may have two for Budweiser-Emerald

McCanna may also be sending out two horses in the $75,000 Budweiser-Emerald Handicap for older horses on June 19. Besides Poker Brad, who ran second to Demon Warlock in last year's renewal of the mile stakes, the trainer may also saddle Snorter.

Snorter, a 5-year-old son of Awesome Again, arrived here last week after being purchased privately by Ross McLeod, the CEO of the company that owns Hastings Park.

"Mr. McLeod's stable manager, Steve Bryant, told me that the horse might stay here or he might go on to Hastings," said McCanna. "If he stays here he'll go in the Budweiser-Emerald, but right now I'm just galloping him and waiting for instructions."

Snorter, a winner of 5 of 15 starts and $237,780, won last year's Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate for trainer Bobby Frankel. He was transferred to trainer Cole Norman for his 2005 campaign and won his seasonal debut against $62,500 optional claiming company at Oaklawn, but he has since gone unplaced in a pair of Grade 3 stakes at Lone Star.

Trying blinkers with M K Beck

The last horse to beat Queenledo was M K Beck, who took her measure by a neck in last September's Diane Kem Stakes at six furlongs.

M K Beck, a stretch-running daughter of Moon Up T. C., finished fifth, five lengths behind Queenledo, in the U. S. Bank Stakes, however, and she was fourth, beaten 10 lengths by Queenledo, in the Federal Way. Now trainer Jose Navarro is wondering what he can do to help his filly make up the difference in the Irish Day.

"The main problem is that she hasn't been able to keep up early," said Navarro. "She has been breaking slowly, then she has been relaxing a little too well. She has been leaving herself too much to do in the stretch. She doesn't really have much speed, but I need to find a way to get her rolling earlier. I'm going to try blinkers on her this time and see if that helps."

Navarro said he worked M K Beck in blinkers last Sunday, when she went five furlongs in 1:01.20.

"She never works fast, but she seemed more eager to go with the blinkers on," he said. "I really think they can help her to get into the race earlier. The other thing that should help is the added distance. I have always felt she wanted to go farther, and I hope I'm right about that. It may be the only shot we have if we want to get close to Queenledo."

Mullens admires opposition

Trainer Pat Mullens is another who hopes the added distance makes a difference in the Irish Day, because his Have'n a Lark finished more than 14 lengths behind Queenledo in the Federal Way. He admits that may be a faint hope.

"My filly proved she could go long when she ran third in last year's Barbara Shinpoch, and Queenledo hasn't proven she can go long yet," he said. "It sure looked like another three-sixteenths wasn't going to bother her last time, though. She is just awfully good now. She looks like ice cream."