07/31/2002 12:00AM

Sutherland: No allowance for failure


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Apprentice jockey Chantal Sutherland had set three goals for herself heading into the current season.

"I wanted to be a top 10 rider, and to go for another Sovereign" as top apprentice, said Sutherland. "And my ultimate goal was to be considered for an Eclipse."

Sutherland rode 44 winners at Woodbine to rank 17th in the overall standings last year and was a runaway winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding apprentice.

Through August, Sutherland appears to be on her way to success on just about all counts. Heading into Wednesday evening's card she had recorded an astounding 83 winners, including 73 at Woodbine to place her a clear second in the standings. Her other 10 wins came at Fort Erie, where she was 3 for 4 on Tuesday.

Her win total currently ranks her third among all North American apprentices, and her $3.2 million in earnings put her way atop that list.

A second Sovereign Award in the apprentice category is a foregone conclusion. Riding in Canada may be a hindrance to attracting support for the Eclipse as North America's top apprentice, but her profile will be heightened if she sticks with her current plan to compete in New York or Florida following the conclusion of the Woodbine meeting on Dec. 1.

But for the moment, the big news in the Chantal Sutherland story is that she is about to embark on life without the bug, as Friday will be the last day she is able to claim the five-pound apprentice allowance.

As if to herald this coming of age, Sutherland had two new experiences here on last Sunday's program - one she would rather not dwell upon, and one she will never want to forget.

In the afternoon's second event Sutherland was involved in her first accident in a race when she was unseated by her mount, Twistingbythepool, as she was attempting to avoid her fallen peer, Jim McAleney.

Later that afternoon, she was pumping her fist in elation after she flashed under the finish line aboard her first Woodbine stakes winner, Biddy's Lad, in the Bull Page.

Sutherland took both the bad and the good in stride when reflecting on the day's events here the other morning.

"A huge ball of dirt hit me in the face just before it happened," said Sutherland, recalling in detail the circumstances that led to the spill. "It was like someone punched me.

"I'd just switched to my last pair of goggles, and it went right through them. When I was able to open my eyes a horse was going down right in front of me, and I tried to get out of the way."

It shook me up because I went over top of Jimmy, more than anything. That kind of freaked me out. I thought he might be really hurt."

McAleney later was found to have a non-displaced fractured of one rib, and he should be back in a couple of weeks.

Sutherland, meanwhile, missed her first scheduled mount after the spill while she was being checked out in the infirmary but was back for her four other engagements, including the Bull Page.

The stakes win, which was accomplished without the perceived assistance of her apprentice weight allowance, came at an opportune time for Sutherland.

"Winning that stakes was very important," conceded Sutherland, who will be hoping she can avoid the downturn in fortunes often associated with the loss of the apprentice allowance.

"I think my riding's improving - I'm confident I'll be making good decisions, and riding really strong."

Sutherland, in one sense, says she even is looking forward to life without the bug.

"Actually, I'm kind of excited," she said. "Finally, everybody's not going to be able to say I'm doing it because of the five pounds. I want to prove myself."

If the early returns are any indication, then Sutherland and her agent, Lorne Spearman, aren't going to have to worry about a lull in business. Spearman had obtained calls for Sutherland in all five stakes races here this holiday weekend. She is slated to ride Bold Engagement in Saturday's Royal North and Rich Mist in Saturday's Belle Mahone; Lucky Molar in Sunday's Seagram Cup; Flashy Thunder in Monday's Wonder Where, and Branksome Hall in Monday's Victoriana.

Wonder Where fillies work

Sutherland was in the irons Wednesday morning Flashy Thunder worked five furlongs in 1:03.20 on the turf training course in preparation for the Wonder Where.

Flashy Thunder, a maiden, has finished second in her last two starts, over 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The $250,000 Wonder Where is a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Wednesday's turf training session, the last before a three-week break, also attracted Wonder Where candidates Alpha Heat and Bala, who worked four furlongs in company. Alpha Heat was clocked in 47 seconds, Bala in 48.60.

Breeders' possibles get in work

A quartet of 3-year-old males prepped on the turf Wednesday with an eye toward possible appearances in the $500,000 Breeders', the 1 1/2-mile turf race here Aug. 10 which is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Anglian Prince, who finished second in the Queen's Plate and third in Fort Erie's Prince of Wales with McAleney in the irons, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 under exercise rider Oneil Harty while tracking stablemate Mysterious Affair.

Mysterious Affair, who is entered in the Royal North, breezed three furlongs in 34.80 seconds under regular rider Richard Dos Ramos, who also has picked up the mount on Anglian Prince with McAleney on the sidelines.

T J's Lucky Moon, who won the Queen's Plate but finished 10th in the Prince of Wales, worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 while Mister Coop, who ran sixth in the Wales, prepped four furlongs in 48 seconds, and Parco Ducale, who was claimed for $80,000 from his last start, drilled five furlongs in 1:01.40.

* The most prominent older horse on the turf training tab was Quiet Resolve, who worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 under Todd Kabel. Trainer Mark Frostad said Quiet Resolve is heading straight to the Sept. 8 Atto Mile, which he won via disqualification in 1999 and ran third in last year.