09/24/2008 12:00AM

Solitaire comes off vacation


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stakes performer Solitaire should be the prohibitive favorite in Friday's second race at Woodbine, a nine-furlong maiden special worth $72,600.

Solitaire nearly graduated second time out June 1 in the nine-furlong Plate Trial Stakes, where his rally came up a neck short of victorious Not Bourbon.

Not Bourbon subsequently won the prestigious Queen's Plate over Ginger Brew and a wide-closing Solitaire, who traveled 44 feet farther than Not Bourbon, according to Trakus.

Solitaire skipped the second race of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie. He was bet down to 4-5 in the final leg of the series on turf, the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Stakes, and finished third after an inside stalking trip. The first two finishers both came back to score, most notably Marlang, who took the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga.

Solitaire returns from a two-month layoff on Friday after recording a series of works over the training track at Saratoga. Robert Landry retains the mount for trainer James Bond.

The other obvious contenders in the second are Bigger Breeze and Pool Play.

Bigger Breeze, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus and Canadian Oaks winner Hope for a Breeze, is stretching out off a solid debut effort in a quick maiden special, for which he got an 85 Beyer Figure.

Pool Play finished directly behind Bigger Breeze in third that day after lacking a clear path during the stretch run. He also possesses sufficient stamina in his pedigree for the task at hand.

Mimi Cooper heads the feature on the 10-race card, a second-level allowance and optional claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on the grass.

Mimi Cooper, a gutsy 3-year-old filly trained by Wray Lawrence, won both of her outings at 2, both middle claimers. She extended her unbeaten streak to three races with a victory over $50,000 opposition in May, but she dropped a $62,500 claimer by a half-length in her next appearance.

Mimi Cooper took to the turf like a duck to water on July 10 when she was second in an allowance sprint. She shrugged off a strong wide bid from Bent Attorney to clear the first allowance condition Aug. 1.

Lawrence was hoping that Mimi Cooper would earn some black type most recently in the Ontario Colleen Stakes. She loomed boldly at the top of the stretch in that one-mile event before flattening out in the final furlong, and wound up fourth in a large field.