12/07/2006 1:00AM

Shipper enters Valedictory mix


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - While Sunday's $125,000 Valedictory Handicap is shaping up as a confrontation between True Metropolitan and Last Answer, there will be an interesting invader to add spice to the mix in the closing-day feature here at Woodbine.

Marsh Side, trained in Maryland by Michael Dickinson, checked into Woodbine on Wednesday and took up temporary residence in the barn of trainer Roger Attfield.

A 3-year-old colt by Gone West out of the Pleasant Colony mare Colonial Play, Marsh Side is coming off a smart victory under second-level allowance terms in a one-mile race at Laurel on Oct. 19 and will be stretching out to 1 3/4 miles for the Valedictory.

"His dam won at a mile and a half, and we thought the extra distance there would suit him," said Dickinson, who trains Marsh Side for owner Robert Evans.

In his longest race to date, Marsh Side won a first-level allowance at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Colonial Downs.

Marsh Side also has won on Polytrack, capturing his debut at one mile at Turfway Park on Feb. 25, and trains over Dickinson's patented artificial surface at Tapeta Farm.

Dickinson's Tapeta Footings made a strong bid to install its surface here but was passed over in favor of Polytrack partners Martin Collins and Keeneland.

The last 3-year-old to capture the Valedictory was Take Account, back at Greenwood in 1989, and Marsh Side will be the only 3-year-old in this year's field of seven.

Dickinson, however, has sprung surprises here before, taking the 2003 Cup and Saucer with Master William ($29.40), the 2003 Sky Classic with Bowman Mill ($15.80), and the 1996 Breeders' Cup Mile with Da Hoss ($18.90).

Wilson lines up double

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, who has picked up the mount on Marsh Side, will wrap up her second straight leading rider title here Sunday.

Wilson, 25, is a Sovereign finalist in both the jockey and apprentice jockey categories.

Although she rode with her apprentice allowance for the last time on Aug. 7, Wilson had ridden 74 winners for earnings of $3.4 million to that point.

A sweep of both the jockey and apprentice Sovereigns would not be unprecedented, as Mickey Walls repeated as outstanding apprentice when he also won the outstanding jockey title in 1991.

Wilson's rivals for the jockey title are Todd Kabel and Patrick Husbands.

Kabel, 41, will be looking for his fourth straight win and sixth overall in the category. He also was voted outstanding apprentice in 1986.

Husbands, 33, was voted outstanding jockey four years in a row, beginning in 1999.

The other finalists for this year's outstanding apprentice award are Justin Stein, who relocated here from Hastings last fall and ended second in the voting last year, and Mario Gutierrez, who competed in Vancouver this year.

Stein had ridden 47 winners before losing his apprentice allowance on Aug. 4. Gutierrez rode 25 winners before losing his allowance July 27.

Hearing on Prince of Wales DQ put off

An Ontario Racing Commission hearing into the disqualification of Malakoff in Fort Erie's Prince of Wales this July now has been delayed until late March.

The hearing was scheduled to begin this week but was postponed because of a health issue involving one of the lawyers scheduled to appear.

Malakoff, owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Brian Lynch, had finished first in the $500,000 Prince of Wales under jockey Todd Kabel but was demoted to fifth after the stewards ruled he had come in and interfered with inside rivals.

Shillelagh Slew, the second-place finisher, was promoted to the top spot, but both Lynch and Kabel appealed the decision of the stewards, which had included a three-day suspension for Kabel.

Both Shillelagh Slew and Malakoff are Sovereign Award finalists in the 3-year-old colt or gelding category.

Bethley on the mend

Stanley Bethley is recuperating and receiving visitors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre after suffering serious head injuries during a training accident here three weeks ago.

Bethley, an exercise rider and assistant to trainer Greg DeGannes, suffered a fractured skull when his mount reared and fell on him.

"He was in an induced coma for just short of two weeks," said DeGannes. "He's made considerable progress, but he's still got a long road ahead of him."

Bethley, 38, rode in both Canada and England and was the Sovereign Award-winning apprentice of 1992 after winning 54 races and more than $1 million in purses.