05/06/2004 12:00AM

Ross flying under radar with Picadilly Bay


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer John Ross has been through the Queen's Plate grind plenty of times in recent years, with such horses as Arco's Gold, Shaws Creek, Catahoula Parish, and John the Magician. They all looked like viable contenders, only to lose on the big day.

That's why Ross is laying low this year with Picadilly Bay, a promising Canadian-bred 3-year-old colt he trains for Gary Wellwood and Larry Titchner.

Picadilly Bay, who wintered at Classic Mile Farm in Ocala, Fla., returned to the races here April 25 and was an impressive winner over 6 1/2 furlongs in the mud, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

While he was nominated to Saturday's seven-furlong Queenston, a potentially important prep for the Queen's Plate, Picadilly Bay will not be participating.

"He worked well in Florida," said Ross. "But, I'm not going to start talking Queen's Plate until I see how he performs going two turns again."

Picadilly Bay started three times at Woodbine at 2, finishing second at both seven furlongs and 1 1/16 miles on the main track before being virtually eased in the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of turf.

"He wrenched his ankle in that turf race," said Ross. "Otherwise, he had two good races under his belt."

Picadilly Bay's owners have others

Titchner and Wellwood also are the owners of Wild Whiskey, a 5-year-old horse who finished second in a classified allowance here last Sunday, and Lucky Fern, who won an entry-level allowance for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies here last Friday. Both were making their first starts of the season.

Wild Whiskey won the six-furlong Woodstock here at age 3, but was unable to use his front-running style productively and consistently in most of his subsequent starts.

But in his 2004 debut, which came over five furlongs on a sloppy track, Wild Whiskey showed a new dimension - rating in fourth-place behind the dueling leaders and rallying four wide to lose by only a half-length under jockey David Clark.

"We've been working on trying to get him to do that," said Ross. "He's getting a little more mature.

"And, you've got to give some of the credit to David Clark. He's been practicing with him in his works."

Wild Whiskey is slated to make his next appearance in the $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here May 15.

Brattothecore straight to Hendrie?

Ross also is looking forward to the return of Brattothecore, a 4-year-old filly he trains for the Jam Jar Racing Stable of Bud and Jackie Reynolds.

Brattothecore has won a stakes in each of her campaigns, winning the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie here at 2 and dead-heating for the top spot in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City at Fort Erie last July.

"She had a great winter," said Ross. "She looks great."

Brattothecore is nominated to the Grade 3, $150,000 Hendrie, a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares here May 16.

"She might have to go straight in there," said Ross. "I would have liked to get some kind of prep into her but it's tough to find a race when you're a stakes winner."

Burst of Fire runs Saturday

Burst of Fire, who was nominated to the Queenston and stands as the main Queen's Plate hopeful for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad, is entered in Saturday's fourth race.

The 1 1/16-mile allowance race is for nonwinners of two, with an optional claiming condition of $25,000, and has drawn a field of eight, including six older horses.

Unraced at 2, Burst of Fire made a winning debut at a mile and 40 yards at Fair Grounds in mid-March and was a well-beaten third at Keeneland a month later.

Rosa da Silva a jockey to watch

There's an interesting new name in the Woodbine jockey colony that could become familiar some day soon.

Eurico Rosa da Silva, a 28-year-old native of Brazil, is certainly no rookie, having ridden successfully for many years in his homeland and having spent more than four seasons in Macau prior to moving his tack to Woodbine this spring.

"I started riding when I was 12 years old, and rode Quarter Horses until I was 16," said Rosa da Silva, who later moved over to Thoroughbreds and was based at Brazil's Cidade Jarmin [Garden City] in Sao Paolo.

Rosa da Silva left Brazil with the objective of pursuing a riding career in the United States, but had problems obtaining a visa and ended up in the Far East after being approached by the Macau Jockey Club.

It was there that Rosa da Silva met his future wife, Claudia Tang da Silva, whom he later discovered held Canadian citizenship.

"She suggested I go to Canada," said Rosa da Silva, who admitted that he knew very little about Canadian racing at the time. "I came here to Woodbine two years ago, and it was beautiful."

Rosa da Silva returned here in mid-April and hooked up with veteran jockey agent Fred Scott.

Jockey and agent have been busy, with Rosa Da Silva getting on horses in the mornings for a number of trainers including Ross, Norm DeSouza, John MacKenzie, and Gil Rowntree.

"I've met a lot of people," said Rosa da Silva. "I like the racing here very much."