05/13/2007 11:00PM

Strike Softly offers options


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Strike Softly's talent was not in question but her readiness was when she went postward in Sunday's $186,700 Hendrie here at Woodbine.

"I was uncertain whether she was dead fit," said Mark Frostad, who trains the homebred Strike Softly for Sam-Son Farm. "I was going to run her when we were at Keeneland, but she wasn't quite ready then."

Frostad need not have fretted as Strike Softly, a 4-year-old who was making her first start in six months, rallied for a four-length victory under regular rider Todd Kabel in the 6o1/2-furlong Hendrie for fillies and mares.

"She loves this track, and she'd worked well," said Frostad, who had sent out Strike Softly to win her second start on Polytrack and her last of 2006 in the seven-furlong Jammed Lovely on Nov. 12.

Strike Softly's ardor is not confined to Polytrack, however, as she also won on the former dirt oval here and has been very effective on the turf course.

"She's won at distances anywhere from six and a half furlongs to a mile and a quarter," Frostad said. "She's quite an extraordinary filly. It gives us so many options."

The most immediate of those options for Strike Softly is the Grade 3, $300,000 Nassau, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares here June 2.

Mary Delaney's future undecided

Strike Softly's success came at the direct expense of Mary Delaney, who finished second as the 4-5 choice.

"She ran her race," said Eddie Kenneally, who trains Mary Delaney. "She was just the victim of too fast a pace."

Mary Delaney will be returning to her Keeneland base with her immediate future undecided.

"There's a race for her in Chicago next month," said Kenneally, referencing the Gradeo3, $175,000 Chicago Breeders' Cup at seven furlongs on Polytrack at Arlington on June 16. "She might even go to the farm for a while."

Catch the Thrill unlikely for Oaks

Frostad, meanwhile, will turn his attention toward Sunday's Grade 3, $250,000 Selene, a 1o1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies that is a major stepping-stone to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks here June 10.

Quiet Jungle and Forever Red, both owned and bred by Sam-Son, are candidates for the Selene who are pointing for the Woodbine Oaks along with stablemate Dance With Doves.

But Catch the Thrill, Canada's 2-year-old filly champion last year and considered the best of the barn's Woodbine Oaks hopefuls at the conclusion of last season, appears to have run out of time after undergoing knee surgery.

"She's not going to make the Oaks, unless something amazing happens," Frostad said.

Dave the Knave wins '07 debut

Dave the Knave had been successful first crack out in each of his first three campaigns but had missed some significant training time, and it appeared that streak might have been in jeopardy heading into Saturday's six-furlong New Providence.

"There were issues with him all spring," trainer Robert Tiller said.

But Dave the Knave's class, aided by a favorable pace setup, carried the day in the New Providence as he rallied to a half-length victory under regular rider David Clark.

"It's just a thrill; we love him," Tiller said.

Dave the Knave, a 5-year-old gelding, recorded his fourth career stakes win in the New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired runners.

The $125,000 Shepperton, a 6 1/2-furlong race here Aug. 5, which Dave the Knave won last year, is the next restricted sprint stakes on the schedule.

"I haven't even thought about my next step with him," Tiller said. "We just want to enjoy the moment."

Dancer's Bajan to skip Marine

Tiller, who leads the trainer standings with 14 wins, has two horses nominated for stakes on the upcoming long weekend but may be a spectator.

The trainer is adamant that Dancer's Bajan, a gelding, will not compete in Saturday's Gradeo3, $125,000 Marine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds.

"Absolutely not," Tiller said when asked if Dancer's Bajan could contest the Marine, which is a stepping-stone to the $1 million Queen's Plate here June 24. "He's absolutely perfect, but I'm not in a hurry to run him back."

Dancer's Bajan has started twice this spring, finishing second in the six-furlong Woodstock on April 21 and third in the seven-furlong Queenston here May 5.

Are You Serious, a 5-year-old gelding who is nominated to the Grade 3, $125,000 Eclipse on the May 21 Victoria Day program, also may be staying in the barn.

"I'm 50-50, at best, on that one," Tiller said.

Are You Serious opened up his campaign with a second-place finish in the five-furlong prep for the Jacques Cartier on March 31.

Two weeks later, Are You Serious finished third in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier, and another two weeks after that, he just missed in the Grade 3 Vigil at seven furlongs.

"He's run huge this year; he just hasn't been lucky," Tiller said. "He'll win some races later on."

Attard wins three on Saturday

Trainer Sid Attard sent out three winners here Saturday, including two ridden by Simon Husbands, who visited the winner's circle for the first time at the meeting.

"He's a good rider; he works hard," said Attard, who had given Husbands a leg up aboard Captain Raucous ($23.30) and Gray Jet ($6.10). "He just hasn't had the breaks."

Attard, whose 11 wins at the meeting include stakes victories with Like Mom Like Sons in the Woodstock, Just Rushing in the Vigil, and Jiggs Coz in the Queenston, plans to be represented by Just Rushing in the Eclipse.

* Jono Jones recorded a riding triple Sunday aboard Soul Rebel ($7.10), Pizza Lover ($37.30), and Alezzandro ($15.60) after guiding Kissura ($43.60) to victory Saturday.