05/13/2010 11:00PM

Simply Splendid back in Nassau prep


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Gail Cox has got off to an excellent start at the Woodbine meeting, winning with two of the first five horses she sent to the post.

On Sunday, Cox will be looking to keep the ball rolling with stable star Simply Splendid, who is slated to make her seasonal bow in the one-mile turf prep for the Nassau Stakes.

"I've been taking my time with her," said Cox, who also owns Simply Splendid in partnership with John Menary. "There are so many good races later in the year.

"Last year, I started early with her. This year, I hope to make it to the end of the meeting."

Simply Splendid, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old mare, put together a three-race win streak here last summer, capped by her first stakes score in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too.

Solid second-place finishes in the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone and seven-furlong Seaway followed before Cox put away Simply Splendid for the season.

After wintering with Cox in Florida at Payson Park, Simply Splendid checked back in during the third week of April and has recorded two solid five-furlong works in preparation for her return.

Simply Splendid was nominated to the 6 1/2-furlong Hendrie, which also will be run Sunday, but Cox has elected for the longer race on turf.

"I didn't really want to cut her back to 6 1/2 furlongs," Cox said. "Seven furlongs is okay, and I think she enjoyed stretching out last year."

And while Simply Splendid's lone turf start resulted in a 10th-place finish over one mile at Gulfstream in April 2009, Cox believes her mare can adapt to the surface.

"Now's the time to try it," Cox said. "She's bred for it, and her action's really good. When she ran at Gulfstream, it just wasn't a good scenario."

Cox also is hoping for more good things from Tierra del Tigre and Miss Lola, her other winners at the meeting.

Tierra del Tigre, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, registered a front-running victory over 1 1/16 miles when competing under second-level allowance terms here May 8.

"He's nice," Cox said. "It's hard to decide whether to run him on turf or dirt."

Tierra del Tigre won on both surfaces here last fall, graduating over one mile of turf and then doubling up in a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track.

The colt also disappointed in a turf race at Gulfstream, faltering to finish 11th when making his seasonal bow in a 1 1/16-mile turf race this March, but Cox is inclined to forgive that effort.

"He came out of the race very jarred up," Cox said. "His shin and his back were bugging him, so we gave him some time off."

Miss Lola, an Ontario-sired 3-year-old filly owned by Cox and Menary, returned $51.40 when ralllying from off the pace for a convincing 3 3/4-length win in her seasonal bow at seven furlongs.

"She's developed quite a bit this year," Cox said.

Last year, Miss Lola had closed from well back to finish fourth in her debut over six furlongs of turf but then faltered when stretched out to 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

"Her second race was my mistake," Cox said. "I ran her long, and she was kind of frantic early."

"But her first race was good. I know she loves the turf."

Not Bourbon wins comeback race

Not Bourbon returned in triumphant fashion here Wednesday evening, capturing a six-furlong classified allowance race by a half-length while making his first start in almost 20 months.

Not Bourbon, a winner of four stakes including the Queen's Plate en route to taking home the Sovereign Award as Canada's champion 3-year-old male in 2008, had fractured a shoulder and missed all of last season.

"It's much harder to train a horse to go six furlongs off a long layoff than it is to go a mile and a half, at least for me," said Roger Attfield, who trains the homebred Not Bourbon for owner Charles Fipke. "I thought he ran a heck of a race. At the three-eighths pole I thought he'd run right on by them, but they kept running. He showed his guts and fitness right there."

The New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up here June 9, could be on Not Bourbon's agenda, but Attfield also will explore other avenues.

"I want to get him on the grass one of these days," Attfield said.

Resentless will miss Oaks preps

Resentless, an impressive winner of the seven-furlong Fury in her seasonal bow here May 1, is ailing and may be hard-pressed to make the June 13 Woodbine Oaks.

"She's spiked a fever, on and off, since last Tuesday," said Ian Howard, who trains Resentless for owner Donald Ross. "It's a virus, and there's really nothing you can do except wait and hope there's not too much damage to her airways."

Resentless had been slated to use either next Sunday's La Lorgnette or Monday's Lady Angela as her final stepping-stone to the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks.

"She won't be running in either of those races," Howard said. "That's not a possibility. In fact, there's no way we're going to get a race into her before the Oaks.

"It's certainly going to make things more difficult. But she has such a good basic fitness. She raced at the end of November, had only a month off, and spent the winter in Florida."

Resentless is among 29 Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies who remained paid up by the May 1 nomination stage for the Woodbine Oaks. Entry-day supplements will be accepted at a cost of $12,500, which includes the $5,000 entry fee.

Funeral services for farm manager

A funeral service was to be held Saturday for Peter Poole, who was the manager of Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario, from 1950 through 1986.

Poole, who died in hospital last Sunday at age 90, was a recipient of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's Mint Julep Award for his contributions to the industry and was inducted into the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame.

The service is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Barnes Memorial Funeral Home, 5295 Thickson Road North, in Whitby. Visitation was to begin at 10 a.m.