08/06/2008 11:00PM

Silver Rocket looks to improve in Vandal


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The last time Gail Cox visited the stakes winner's circle here at Woodbine, she was Gail Casselman.

The then-unattached Casselman won the Colin with Rights Reserved in 2002 and subsequently married fellow trainer Greg Cox.

After a brief run as Gail Casselman-Cox, she adopted the shortened surname and will be looking to looking to upset Sunday's Vandal with Silver Rocket.

A $100,000 buy at the local select yearling sale, Silver Rocket comes into the Vandal off a third-place finish here in the Clarendon, a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds here July 5.

Bucephalus and El Brujo, the one-two finishers in the Clarendon, also will be back in the Vandal, which attracted a field of just five.

"He's doing very well," Cox said.

Silver Rocket is a maiden after three starts but has displayed steady improvement.

In his first two starts, both at 4 1/2 furlongs, Silver Rocket finished fifth and then third after experiencing problems at the gate.

"His first start he just didn't break; he was green," Cox said. "In his second start, he wasn't standing well, and they grabbed his ear.

"Often a horse won't break well when that happens; he broke quite poorly."

Silver Rocket had no trouble at the gate last time, other than the fact that he was drawn unfavorably in post 1. Starting sharply, Silver Rocket took the lead and set the pace under pressure before yielding and was beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

"Coming out of the 1-hole, sometimes you do get a bit stuck," said Cox, explaining that taking the lead was not necessarily her preference. "I always thought he'd sit off the pace and come running like he did in his first two starts."

Patrick Husbands, who was aboard Silver Rocket in his first two starts but was in California riding Sealy Hill in the Vanity on the day of the Clarendon, regains the mount for the Vandal.

Mike Fox, Marchfield meet in stakes

Sunday's card also will feature the With Approval, a $100,000 overnight stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward.

The With Approval attracted a field of seven, including Mike Fox, winner of last year's Queen's Plate, and Marchfield, winner of last year's Breeders' Stakes.

Doyle finds success on Wednesday nights

They're calling him "Mr. Wednesday Night," which elicits a roll of the eyeballs from trainer Mike Doyle.

After sending out Sababa and Flashy Consort to score on Wednesday's eight-race program, Doyle had recorded 19 winners at the meeting, with eight of those coming on Wednesdays - the week's lone evening card.

Doyle, whose first Wednesday night winner came on June 18, tripled on July 16 and doubled on July 23 and had no starters on the July 30 card.

And, the secret of Doyle's Wednesday night success is . . .

"There isn't one," said the trainer. "It's just having the right horses for the races that came up in the condition book. Our horses are on a roll."

Despite downplaying the Wednesday night dynamic, Doyle doesn't mind the fact that Critical Path will be making her next start in the $125,000 Eternal Search on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

The Eternal Search, for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, goes at 1 1/16 miles, and Critical Path will be seeking her third straight victory.

"I've been getting her ready for the Eternal Search," said Doyle, who sent out Critical Path to capture an Ontario-sired first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles on June 15 and an open first-level allowance over 1 1/8 miles on Wednesday, July 16. "It looked like a good opportunity after her last win, to give her a mini-break and aim at a race that's restricted."

"If she's good enough, after that there are two or three stakes she can run in."

Dancer's Bajan capitalizes on Shepperton pace

A sizzling pace helped set the table for favored Dancer's Bajan in Wednesday's $125,800 Shepperton.

Drunken Love and Bold Nurse dueled through fractions of 21.89 seconds and 43.98 in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. Main Executive tracked the leaders on the outside in third, while Dancer's Bajan was reserved in mid-pack under Corey Fraser.

Dancer's Bajan went wide in the stretch and overtook Main Executive just inside the sixteenth pole en route to a two-length tally in 1:15.29.

It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to No Dilettante, who nailed a fading Drunken Love on the wire for third in the seven-horse field of Ontario-sired runners.

"He showed his class again tonight," said Bob Tiller, who trains Dancer's Bajan for 3 Sons Racing Stable. "I was worried about the six and a half, but he was sharp and ran a hell of a race. We were aiming him for this race, and everything worked out great."

Dancer's Bajan ($5.90) earned $75,000, which boosted his bankroll to $677,152.

Wilson riding in Secretariat at Arlington

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson will be at Arlington Park on Saturday to pilot Secret Getaway in the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds over 1 1/4 miles of turf.

Secret Getaway won the Victoria Park on Polytrack and the Toronto Cup over 1 1/8 miles of good turf with Wilson aboard in his two trips to Woodbine this year.

Trained by Michael Stidham, Secret Getaway is 10-1 on the morning line for the Secretariat.

Sutherland appeals suspension

Jockey Chantal Sutherland has appealed a three-day suspension resulting from her fourth whip infraction of the meeting.

The stewards cited Sutherland for "using her whip in an excessive and aggressive manner" during the stretch run of last Sunday's Breeders' Stakes.

Sutherland's mount, Sligovitz, finished second.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink