08/18/2008 11:00PM

Royal Oath will be rested until next season


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Royal Oath, who had been expected to use Saturday's Play the King as a stepping-stone to the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, will not see action again this season.

"Something's bugging him," said Mark Casse, who trains Royal Oath for Will Farish and Bill Farish Jr. "It's nothing major; he's always had some little issues, from Day 1. We just can't figure him out and, after talking with the Farishes, we just decided to go ahead and give him the rest of the year off, and have him ready for next year."

Royal Oath, a Kentucky-bred 6-year-old gelding, raced in England and Dubai before relocating to North America this past spring with a long-term eye toward the Woodbine Mile.

After finishing fifth here in the 1 1/16-mile Connaught Cup in his final start for trainer John Gosden, Royal Oath made a successful debut for Casse in the 1 1/8-mile King Edward Gold Cup in his last appearance here June 28.

"This is a good horse," said Casse. "We want to give him every opportunity. I think if he comes back even better next year, he could be as good a horse as there is anywhere in North America."

Casse has a backup for the Play the King in Morada Key, a 4-year-old colt.

Morada Key was sent to Casse here this past spring and has made two starts for his new barn.

"The first time we ran him on the Polytrack, and he really didn't run very well," said Casse, who watched Morada Key finish a well-beaten fifth in a second-level optional $62,500 claiming race at seven furlongs here June 21.

Coming back in the same classification but trying the local turf course for his next and last start here Aug. 3, Morada Key was beaten a half-length after finishing with a flourish under rider Patrick Husbands.

"He probably should have won," said Casse. "It was a little short for him, and when he started running Patrick had nowhere to go.

"If there's a good pace, going seven-eighths, we think he'll be really effective on the turf. I'm sure he'll be a longshot for the Play the King, but he's training well."

Not Bourbon will return in Vice Regent

Not Bourbon and Society's Chairman, two of the brighter lights in the Roger Attfield stable, will be looking to regroup in their next starts.

"They're both coming off races we didn't totally understand at first, but now I think we do," said Attfield.

Not Bourbon underwent surgery for an entrapped epiglottis after finishing sixth of seven in Fort Erie's Prince of Wales, ending a win streak that had run through the seven-furlong Queenston, 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, and 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate.

Attfield has chosen the $125,000 Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds here Aug. 31, as the probable spot for Not Bourbon's return.

"He didn't miss much time; we just cut back on his training while he healed up," said Attfield. "He puts a lot into his training; he had a very, very nice work last week."

Not Bourbon, in his second recorded trial since the July 13 Prince of Wales, breezed four furlongs in a bullet 46.60 seconds under regular rider Jono Jones here last Friday.

Society's Chairman, coming off a last-place finish in a second-level optional $62,500 claimer on the main track here Aug. 9, is scheduled to return to turf for the Sept. 1 Halton.

The Halton, a one-mile race, will be one of six $125,000 yearling sales stakes on the Labor Day program.

"The whole plan had been to go to the Woodbine Mile with him, but that would be hard to do after that last race," said Attfield. "We've got some theories, but we're not sure what happened."

Society's Chairman had finished second when making his local bow in the Connaught Cup, but then ended seventh as the favorite in the King Edward.

In his first start on Polytrack, Society's Chairman had won an Ontario-sired first-level allowance as the odds-on choice.

Two ship for Canadian Derby

Discreet Commander and Bears Tiger shipped out Tuesday morning for the Canadian Derby, which will be run at Edmonton's Northlands Park this Saturday.

The Canadian Derby, a 1 3/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $300,000.

Discreet Commander, a Kentucky-bred gelding trained by Arthur Silvera, won the 1o1/16-mile Display here last fall and finished third in three consecutive stakes at this meeting.

In his last start, on July 12, Discreet Commander ran fourth in the Toronto Cup, a 1 1/8-mile turf race.

Regular rider Constant Montpellier, who won the 2002 Canadian Derby with the Woodbine-based filly Lady Shari, will be making the trip west.

Bears Tiger will be making his stakes debut for trainer Reade Baker.

A Kentucky-bred colt, Bears Tiger has faced older horses in each of his three starts this year, all at 1 1/16 miles, winning a $40,000 maiden claimer and a second-level "B" allowance.

In his last outing, on Aug. 9, Bears Tiger showed good speed before tiring to finish fifth, beaten three lengths.

Shot Gun Ela draws clear at Fort Erie

Woodbine-based Shot Gun Ela, Only If Split, and Miss Juicey swept the top three spots in last Sunday's $125,000 Rainbow Connection at Fort Erie.

Originally scheduled for turf, the heavy rains of last week took their toll, and the Rainbow Connection, for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, was moved to the main track.

Under jockey Roderick Dacosta, Shot Gun Ela broke sharply from the gate to mix it up with outside speedster Only If Split.

Shot Gun Ela and Only If Split set blistering early fractions of 21.71 seconds and 44.46 and opened up a big lead on the rest of the field.

The two were head-and-head into the stretch before Shot Gun Ela drew off to score by 4 3/4 lengths in a final time of 56.69.

Shot Gun Ela, trained by Ross Armata, banked $75,000.

Only If Split, ridden by Chad Beckon, finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Miss Juicey, who was ridden by David Clark.

- additional reporting by Bud Williams