06/18/2009 11:00PM

Spice Route strongest of Attfield's entrants


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Spice Route, who has been on a steady diet of graded turf stakes since last September, will be strictly the horse to beat in Sunday's Grade 3 Singspiel at 1 1/2 miles on Woodbine's turf course.

That is, of course, if he stays in the race.

"He's doing great," said trainer Roger Attfield, who also has Musketier and Sligovitz in the six-horse field for the Singspiel. "But I might not run him; I might take him to the United Nations."

The Grade 1 United Nations, a 1o3/8-mile turf race at Monmouth Park on July 4, has a purse of $750,000 while the Singspiel is worth $150,000.

Spice Route, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Attfield in partnership with Dick Bonnycastle and Ralph Johnson, finished second in last year's Grade 1 Canadian International at the Singspiel distance and in the Grade 2 Elkhorn over the same route at Keeneland this spring.

Most recently, Spice Route finished second behind Brass Hat as the favorite in the Grade 3 Louisville at 1o1/2 miles on turf at Churchill Downs.

"He might have moved a little too soon there," said Attfield. "But, he got beaten by a good horse."

Jim McAleney, who has ridden Spice Route in his four starts here last year, has the call for the Singspiel.

Musketier, a 7-year-old horse owned by Johanna Louise Glen-Teven, finished second in the Elkhorn but then ended ninth of 11 following a wide trip under jockey Mike Smith in Pimlico's Grade 2 Dixie at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

"He didn't like the course at all," said Attfield. "According to Mike Smith, he was bobbling around a lot. Things didn't work out at all."

Jono Jones will ride Musketier for the first time in the Singspiel.

Sligovitz, a 4-year-old colt owned by Stronach Stable, was transferred to Attfield's barn this spring.

Runner-up here in the Breeders' Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf here last year when trained by Brian Lynch, Sligovitz will have leading rider Patrick Husbands in the irons.

"He's a nice little horse, and he's doing well," said Attfield. "He obviously likes to run a distance."

The only threat to an Attfield sweep would appear to be Mission Approved, a 5-year-old who shipped up from trainer Gary Contessa's New York stable to lead throughout last year's Singspiel.

In his last start, his first in nine months, Mission Approved set the pace but finished second when facing fellow New York-breds in Belmont's Grade 3 Kingston at 1 1/16 miles on soft going.

Mission Approved, who has had a different rider in each of his last five starts, will have Javier Castellano in the irons for the first time in the Singspiel.