05/17/2007 11:00PM

Saskawea prepping for Oaks


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Fury Stakes winner Saskawea will prep for the June 10 Woodbine Oaks Sunday at Woodbine in the $250,000 Selene Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile route for 3-year-old fillies.

Saskawea, a gorgeous chestnut trained by Steve Attard, was coming off a five-month absence when she contested the May 6 Fury. She stalked a three-way pace battle in the seven-furlong event before cruising to victory under Justin Stein.

"She was training fantastic, but I didn't know if she was going to win," Attard said. "All four horses that she ran against had a race under their belt. She's learned how to relax this year. She matured a lot over the winter."

Attard said he isn't keen on running Saskawea back in two weeks, but he had no other options available to help prepare her properly for the $500,000 Oaks.

"I don't really want to go five weeks between the Fury and the Oaks," Attard said. "She came out of the race really good. Justin told me that she did it very easily."

The Grade 3 Selene has lured 11 others, including Calendar Girl, Silky Smooth, and Palace Pier.

Calendar Girl, who shipped in from Hastings earlier this week, won her stakes debut in the Mt. Royal Handicap May 6 at Stampede Park. It was her first start with Lasix and for trainer Terry Jordan.

Jordan believes Woodbine's Polytrack is a wild card for Calendar Girl.

"I think she'll be fine," Jordan said. "The Polytrack will have its tale to tell, and we'll see how she adapts to it. She acts like no surface bothers her."

Silky Smooth rallied on the outside to end up second behind the unbeaten Native Legend in the six-furlong Star Shoot Stakes April 22. She finished far back the only time she went long, in the Sept. 30 Mazarine BC Stakes, a subpar showing that is a throwout, according to trainer Mark Casse.

"She was dealing with some physical problems at that time," Casse said.

Palace Pier was third in her next-to-last outing, in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland. She was softened up in a speed duel when third as the Fury favorite, and is shedding the blinkers for the Selene.