12/08/2005 12:00AM

In search of stakes win, Shop Hill will go long


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Marathons will be the order of the day here at Woodbine on Sunday, as the marathon meeting winds up with a 12-race program that includes the two longest races run here this year.

The 1 3/4-mile Valedictory Handicap, the longest stakes race of the meeting and the traditional closing-day feature, will go as the final race of the Ontario and Canadian season.

A starter allowance, which at 1 7/8 miles is the longest race of any type at this stand, will go as the eighth race.

Sunday's program also features the Kingarvie Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds that is carded as race 9.

Trainer David Bell has saddled the second-place finishers in the last two editions of the Valedictory, with Affirmed Feeling the runner-up in 2003 and Jambalar last year.

This Sunday, Bell looks to have a good chance to get the job done in the $139,125 Valedictory when he sends out Shop Hill, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Melnyk Racing Stable, in search of his first stakes victory.

The Valedictory will mark Shop Hill's first try on dirt since October 2003, when he finished third here in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special. His nine subsequent outings have come over the turf course here.

"He's a turf horse running on dirt," said David Bell, who took over as Shop Hill's trainer this year. "But he's one of those horses that the distance should be perfect for him. In his two races going a mile and a half, he was closing."

Shop Hill finished second behind Daddy Cool in the Singspiel, an overnight stakes, in his first 1 1/2-mile attempt for Bell. In his second try, which came at the $40,000 claiming level, Shop Hill was a going-away winner in his last start here Nov. 3.

Todd Kabel retains the mount on Shop Hill, who will face eight rivals in the Valedictory.

Daddy Cool won't defend title

Daddy Cool, a 7-year-old gelding, recorded his first stakes win when romping by 9 1/2 lengths in last year's Valedictory, but he will not be participating in this year's renewal.

"He has a niggling suspensory injury; he first had it a couple of years ago," said Sean Smullen, who trains Daddy Cool for Stronach Stable.

"We're just going to give him some time and play it by ear," Smullen said. "It's unfortunate. I was looking forward to giving him another go at it."

Cotey brings Pressac to Kingarvie

Dave Cotey has bagged one Kingarvie Stakes win as an owner, when his Dominion Bloodstock and partners won the 1994 renewal with Try and Be Clever, trained by Sandy McPherson.

Now Cotey will be looking for his first Kingarvie as both owner and trainer, as Pressac is among seven entrants in Sunday's $125,000 renewal.

"I really like the way he's training," said Cotey, who began training his own stock in 2001. "He's getting better."

Pressac, a Manitoba-bred gelding by Ontario-based stallion Perigee Moon, is a maiden after seven starts but has finished second three times and third twice while never missing a check.

After finishing second by a head while in for a $32,000 tag in a 1 1/16-mile race here Nov. 10, Pressac prepped for the Kingarvie with a third-place finish at 6 1/2 furlongs on Dec. 1.

"He was really running hard at the end," said Cotey. "He's got to go two turns."

Constant Montpellier, who rode Try and Be Clever, will look for his second Kingarvie win with Pressac.

Bishop Court Hill shipping in

Melnyk Racing Stable also will be represented in Saturday's Kennedy Road, with Bishop Court Hill among the field of 10 for the six-furlong, $140,125 feature.

Bishop Court Hill, a 5-year-old gelding based in New York with Todd Pletcher, will be making his first local appearance in the Kennedy Road, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Pletcher is 1 for 4 with his ship-ins at this meeting, but his one success was major, with Honey Ryder taking the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes on Oct. 23.

Classic Stamp targets Calder stakes

Classic Stamp, based here at Woodbine with trainer Darwin Banach, arrived in Ocala, Fla., on Thursday and could see action in next Saturday's La Prevoyante Stakes at Calder.

The Grade 2, $200,000 La Prevoyante is a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Classic Stamp, a 5-year-old mare owned and bred by Bill Sorokolit, was the runner-up to Inish Glora in the 2004 Sovereign Award balloting and is a finalist again this year.

Native Rights, dam of Classic Stamp, is a broodmare finalist.