07/24/2007 11:00PM

Sans Souci Island an up-and-comer


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sans Souci Island will be making just her third start and spots significant experience to her key rivals in Saturday's $250,000 Wonder Where here at Woodbine.

But Sans Souci Island, who has yet to taste defeat, is held in high regard by her trainer, Roger Attfield, and is a legitimate threat in the 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

"She's shown a lot of class and quality to me, and I think the mile and a quarter will be no problem for her," said Attfield. "I think she's ready for the situation."

By Chester House out of the Sadler's Wells mare Faux Pas, Sans Souci Island was bred by Attfield clients Bill Graham and Bill Werner and races for Graham's Windhaven.

While she was at the racetrack with Attfield and worked several times last year, Sans Souci Island never came close to starting.

"She was very backward," said Attfield. "I kept sending her back to the farm."

San Souci Island did not join Attfield on his annual offseason trek to Payson Park and remained at Windhaven until returning to the track on March 1.

"She was very immature," said Attfield. "I figured she needed turf anyway, so I didn't need to start her up too soon in her 3-year-old year.

"She's a similar type of filly to Sweetest Thing. She needed to start a bit later, and she needed to start long."

Sweetest Thing made a winning debut at 1 1/8 miles of turf as a 3-year-old here in June 2001. By season's end, Sweetest Thing had defeated males in the Breeders' Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf and doubled up in the Wonder Where, which then was run in late September, en route to a Sovereign Award as champion turf female.

Sans Souci Island made a successful debut at 1 1/16 miles on turf here May 30 and returned June 16 to take a first-level allowance race over the same distance and surface.

Sans Souci Island has worked strongly, including a final Wonder Where tune-up in 1:11 under regular rider Richard Dos Ramos on the turf training course here last Saturday.

"That was a very, very good work, without urging," said Attfield. "She's really coming around."

Red Birkin ships to Saratoga

Red Birkin, a turf specialist trained by Attfield, left Woodbine Wednesday morning for Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Lake George, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga.

Assistant trainer Rachel Walden will be at Saratoga with Red Birkin, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano.

Red Birkin, winner of her only local start here in a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on May 25, shipped to Monmouth for the Grade 3 Boiling Springs on June 30 and finished first in that 1 1/16-mile race only to be disqualified.

Attfield had considered sending Red Birkin to Colonial Downs for last Saturday's Virginia Oaks but opted for the Lake George.

"She shipped to Monmouth during a real heat wave," said Attfield. "I decided another week wouldn't hurt her."

Palladio shortens up

On Sunday, Attfield will send out Palladio in the Grade 3, $150,000 Seagram Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward.

A 5-year-old horse, Palladio won the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Eclipse in impressive fashion here May 21, but then finished third behind probable Seagram Cup favorite True Metropolitan in the Grade 3 Dominion Day at 1 1/4 miles on July 1.

The Dominion Day was Palladio's longest race to date, but Attfield does not believe that was a decisive factor in his defeat.

"I don't that that it was the distance," said Attfield. "It was more a question that he was trapped down the inside the whole way.

"He doesn't mind being down on the inside but he never makes his run from the inside. He didn't make a run the way I thought he would."

Dos Ramos, who has ridden Palladio to each of his four stakes victories, retains the mount.

Eccentric to Spa, not Arlington

Eccentric, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Attfield, breezed four furlongs on the training track turf course in a leisurely 51.20 seconds under regular rider David Clark here Wednesday morning.

Although Eccentric had been under consideration for Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Washington Park Handicap, a 1 3/16-mile race at Arlington, he will not be making that trip.

"He rapped himself in his stall and missed a workout," said Attfield.

Eccentric instead will head to Saratoga for the Grade 2, $150,000 Fourstardave, a 1 1/16-mile turf race on Aug. 5.

Shillelagh Slew out for season

Shillelagh Slew, Canada's Sovereign Award-winning 3-year-old male last year, has undergone ankle surgery and is through for the season. He has been shipped to Gail Wood's Woodlands Farm.

"He had chips taken out of his ankles a couple of days ago, and he's had breathing problems," said owner David James. "We talked about it, and felt it might be just as well to give him the year off and bring him back next year."

James said that trainer Mike DePaulo told him that there's little interest in Shillellagh Slew as a stallion prospect. Shillelagh Slew, a Quebec-bred colt, is by Chief Seattle out of the Theatrical mare Frippalina.

During his championship campaign, Shillellagh Slew won the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands, and the Grade 3 Ontario Derby here at Woodbine while earning $731,680.

Since undergoing ankle surgery during the off-season, Shillelagh Slew has disappointed in three starts this year, all in top company.

"He just doesn't seem to have that edge this year," said James. "Maybe we'll consider doing throat surgery on him, too."