06/29/2010 11:00PM

Southdale comes back as good as ever

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Southdale was trainer Ian Black's Queen's Plate horse last year before things went awry, but the gifted colt has come back better than ever this year, and he should be favored Thursday at Woodbine in the Grade 3, $200,000 Dominion Day Stakes.

Southdale won his maiden impressively second time out in May 2009. Later that month, he finished a close second in the nine-furlong Plate Trial Stakes to Eye of the Leopard, who came back to capture the $1 million Plate.

After the Trial, Southdale went to the sidelines with an undiagnosed injury.

"He was lame after the Trial," Black recalled. "It was definitely high up. We couldn't get a nuclear scintigraphy done until later, and by the time that we got it done a couple of months later, he was sound. We assume it was either a hairline [fracture] up in his shoulders, or pulled muscles."

Black said he was in no rush to bring Southdale back to the races.

"We gave him lots of time," Black said. "We never started him back until November, and he went south to Payson Park. We were very close to running him in Florida, but then he got a quarter crack in behind. It was in a bad spot, and we wanted to give it a chance to grow out. And then we brought him home and went from there."

Southdale resurfaced May 8 in a first-level allowance, which he won convincingly. He passed another acid test June 5 in the Grade 3 Eclipse, winning the 1 1/16-mile stakes while being bet down to a surprisingly low 3-1.

Black is confident that Southdale will get the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Dominion Day.

"It's going to be a test, but I had no doubt in my mind that he'd go that far at 3," Black said. "He's got the pedigree to do it."

Mast Track is one of two Stronach Stable runners in the field, along with Sligovitz.

Mast Track, who captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup on the front end in 2008, may try to wire the field. He came up empty after a stalking trip in the Eclipse.

Sligovitz is in with a chance in his second start following a winter break.

"He's a genuine little horse," said trainer Roger Attfield. "He always runs a good race."