06/17/2004 11:00PM

Silver Ticket on short road to Queen's Plate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Silver Ticket, owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, is headed for next Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate after working six furlongs in 1:13.20 here Friday.

A 3-year-old gelding by Silver Deputy, Silver Ticket would be making only his second start of the year in the 1 1/4-mile Plate. He scored an impressive victory in a first-level allowance at one mile on turf here June 5.

Todd Kabel, who rode Silver Ticket in each of his four career starts, was aboard for Friday's drill over a fast main track.

Silver Ticket worked in company with stablemate Follow the Piper, who had assistant trainer Hugh Chatman in the irons and was clocked in 1:14.80.

"I broke off in front of him, but by the time we hit the eighth pole he went by like I was tied to a post," said Chatman. "It was a very good breeze. Todd was very happy with him."

Kabel was not quite so contented later Friday morning, as back pain forced him to take off his mounts on the afternoon program.

Silver Ticket follows Shoal Water's path

Silver Ticket began his career with a win here last Aug. 30, scoring with authority at a mile and 70 yards, but then was well beaten after enduring a very rough trip in the 1 1/16-mile Grey Stakes.

In his final outing at 2, Silver Ticket finished a good second in the Cup and Saucer, over 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

While going into the Plate off just one outing this year might seem unorthodox, it is not unprecedented.

Sam-Son and Frostad made the same move last year with Shoal Water, who won a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles in his seasonal bow and then finished fourth three weeks later in the Plate.

And, Silver Ticket is not the only Plate candidate who would be making just his second start of this season. Kent Ridge, winner of a first-level allowance for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here May 21, is on the same schedule.

Meanwhile, the Sam-Son barn is still on the fence regarding the Plate for the undefeated Eye of the Sphynx, winner of last Sunday's Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

Picadilly Bay Plate-bound

Picadilly Bay has become the latest horse to throw his hat into the ring for the Queen's Plate.

Owned by Gary Wellwood and Larry Titchner and trained by John Ross, Picadilly Bay will be coming into the Plate off a fifth-place finish, beaten 18 1/2 lengths, in the non-restricted Victoria Park Stakes here June 13.

"I didn't get a race to fill going two turns earlier this year," said Ross. "So the Victoria Park was his first time going two turns, going from seven furlongs to a mile and an eighth. I think he can improve immensely from it."

Picadilly Bay was making his third start of the season in the Victoria Park, having won his maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs April 25 and returning May 24 to defeat older rivals in a first-level allowance at seven furlongs.

The colt had run creditably in the first two-turn outing last fall, finishing second at 1 1/16 miles in his second career start.

Constant Montpellier picks up the mount on Picadilly Bay after his regular rider, David Clark, suffered a broken wrist during a training accident here Thursday morning.

Clark, who passed the 2,500 career win mark here last week, underwent surgery Friday morning and is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks. Clark, 50, has a pair of Queen's Plate victories, aboard Fiddle Dancer Boy in 1981 and La Lorgnette in 1985.

Clark is represented by agent Ken Zweig, who also books mounts for journeyman Rohan Singh.

Miss Santa Anita on a mission

Sunday's feature, the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron Handicap, drew only four entrants, and the bulk of the attention will be on One for Rose, Winning Chance, and Handpainted.

That leaves Miss Santa Anita as the outsider, but her trainer, Jim Smith, sees the 4-year-old filly as more than just "filler" for the race.

"I'm trying to get some more black-type for her," said Smith, who also owns Miss Santa Anita in partnership with Richard and James Condino.

"She came out of her last race great. She's come up to this race better than she's ever come up to a race."

Miss Santa Anita, who had wintered at Oaklawn Park, turned in two solid efforts at Fort Erie before being entered in the $108,000 Sweet Briar Too Stakes here June 6.

Sent off as the longest shot of the board in the field of seven, Miss Santa Anita closed well to finish third, beaten just 1 3/4 lengths by the crack sprinting filly Winter Garden.

"She was running on end there, at seven furlongs," said Smith, "and she loves this distance."

Miss Santa Anita put together back-to-back wins at 1 1/16 miles while moving through her first two allowance conditions here last fall, and was successful over 1 1/16 miles at Fort Erie under third-level allowance terms in her start prior to the Sweet Briar Too.

Award presentations open to fans

Sunday is the annual awards day of the Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club, which will be saluting Woodbine's top performers of 2003.

The group will gather in the second-floor International Room, and visitors are welcome.

Honorees include Patrick Husbands, leading rider; Julia Brimo, apprentice rider; Bob Tiller, trainer; and Stronach Stable, owner.

This year's recipient of the club's signature award, for claimer of the year, goes to Miss Grindstone, a 5-year-old mare owned and trained by John Cardella, who won four of eight starts and $148,176 last year.

Presentations will be made following the second through sixth races.

Queen's Plate Candidates

Horse Trainer Jockey
A Bit O'Gold C. Day Phillips J. Jones
Alleged Ruler E. Coatrieux S. Callaghan
Archer Fleet V. Armata Indefinite
Copper Trail J. Day N. Somsanith
Eye of the Sphynx M. Frostad T. Kabel
Gold Gunner K. Attard Indefinite
Just in Case Jimmy R. Attfield R. Dos Ramos
Kent Ridge M. Casse P. Husbands
Long Pond M. Casse S. Elliott
Night Sky D. Vella J. McAleney
Niigon E. Coatrieux R. Landry
Picadilly Bay J. Ross C. Montpellier
Silver Ticket M. Frostad T. Kabel
Strike Em Hard D. Cotey E. Ramsammy
Will He Crow T. Regan S. Bahen