05/19/2010 11:00PM

Roan Inish to train up to Woodbine Oaks


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Roan Inish, one of the leading candidates for the Woodbine Oaks, is not scheduled to start again before that June 13 feature.

Trained by Carolyn Costigan, Roan Inish finished second, beaten five lengths by Resentless, when making her seasonal bow in the seven-furlong Fury here May 1.

"She's going straight to the Oaks," said Costigan, who had nominated Roan Inish to Sunday's La Lorgnette and also could have run here in a first-level allowance Saturday. "She got hurt coming out of her last race on the Polytrack here last year. The big races are the targets for her, and we need to get her healthy into those races. We just need to manage her properly."

Roan Inish, who began her career in Ireland, recorded her first win in the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth here on Oct. 31 and then finished second in the seven-furlong Glorious Song just more than two weeks later.

After wintering with Costigan at San Luis Rey Downs in California, Roan Inish arrived at Woodbine in early April with an eye toward both the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles and the $1 million Queen's Plate at 1 1/4 miles on July 4.

"She has the talent to compete at that high level," said Costigan, who trains the homebred Roan Inish for her father, Bob Costigan.

"We need to give her the opportunity to do that."

Embur's Song stretches in local bow

Embur's Song, who is nominated to both the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen's Plate, is slated to make her local debut on Saturday.

Based in Kentucky with Todd Pletcher, Embur's Song won her only start by 13 1/4 lengths over about seven furlongs at Keeneland on April 17, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

Last Sunday, Embur's Song breezed five furlongs in 59.80 seconds at Churchill Downs and will be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles here in a first-level allowance for fillies and mares.

Although she is the only 3-year-old in the field of eight, Embur's Song will be a prohibitive favorite under new rider Chantal Sutherland.

The current plan calls for Embur's Song to remain here in the barn of trainer Brian Lynch to prepare for the Woodbine Oaks.

Witch's Coven opts for La Lorgnette

Witch's Coven could have opted for a first-level allowance race on Saturday but instead is scheduled to go postward in the $150,000 La Lorgnette, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

"It's kind of the only stakes for her here until the fall," said David Bell, who trains Witch's Coven for Firestone Farm. "The nonwinners-other-than is going to be there later if she's still eligible."

Witch's Coven was bred in Kentucky, hence her limited local stakes opportunities.

Last year, Witch's Coven won her maiden in her second attempt at a mile and 70 yards and then finished third in the Grade 3 Mazarine at 1 1/16 miles.

After concluding her campaign with a troubled sixth-place finish in the Glorious Song, Witch's Coven wintered on Nelson Jones Farm in Ocala with the Firestone outfit's farm trainer, Hugh Graham.

"She was going well down there," said Bell, who dropped in to visit his charge before she returned to Woodbine during the third week of April.

Returning to action on May 1, Witch's Coven wound up close early through a slow opening quarter-mile and never mounted a rally.

"She trained well into her first start here, but the race didn't go well for her style," Bell said. "That should set her up for this one.

"She's really good right now. She's one of those fillies that's competitive, and she's right on her game."

Mike Fox recovering from virus

Mike Fox, who has won 1 of 10 starts since upsetting the 2007 Queen's Plate, shipped in to Bell to breeze five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.20 on Tuesday.

"He worked well," said Bell. "He got a lot out of it; he was blowing hard. He'll have to have a few more of those before he's ready to go."

Mike Fox had breezed four furlongs in 49.40 here May 10 and was entered in last Friday's prep for the Eclipse Stakes, only to fall victim to the virus that is making the rounds.

"He was really, really quiet and lethargic," Bell said.

Mike Fox failed to finish in the money in four outings last year. .

"He was training really well this winter, and looking really good," Bell said. "They were going to run him at Tampa -- there are a couple of allowance races for him there that are so much easier than they are here. But they didn't go."

Points of Grace works toward Nassau

Points of Grace, Canada's champion turf female in 2009, worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.80 here Thursday morning under her regular rider, Luis Contreras.

"She galloped out strong," trainer Malcolm Pierce said. "She's one work away from the Nassau."

The Grade 2, $300,000 Nassau, shortened to one mile from 1 1/16 miles this year, is the first turf stakes of the season for fillies and mares and will be run June 5.

Points of Grace, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old, has been away since capturing the River Memories over one mile of soft turf here on Oct. 31.

"There wasn't a spot to get her ready," Pierce said "She wasn't ready for the prep."

The Nassau prep, run here last Sunday over one mile of turf, was won by Simply Splendid, who is expected to return for the Nassau.

* Kent Desormeaux has been fined $200 after the stewards ruled that he struck his mount, Caliminco, more than three times in succession during the stretch run of last Sunday's eighth race. Caliminico finished third, a half-length before the fourth-place finisher.