08/31/2005 11:00PM

Three keeping stakes options open


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Entries were taken Thursday for the six $125,000 yearling sales stakes that will be run on Sunday's program. But, with three horses entered in more than one yearling sales event, the actual fields will not be confirmed until wagering on the card opens at approximately 12 p.m.

"There'll be a few who'll be doing a bit of guessing, who's going to go where," said trainer Danny Vella, who could find himself in that group.

Vella has entered Mister Coop, a 6-year-old gelding he trains for Syd Cooper, in both the Kenora and Elgin. The Kenora is a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up, and the Elgin is a 1 1/16-mile race for colts and geldings, 3 and up.

"I think we're pointing toward the sprint," said Vella. "But we sure want to keep our options open."

Mister Coop, who will be ridden by Robert Landry, is one of seven entrants for the Kenora and eight for the Elgin.

Barbeau Ruckus, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Ross Armata, also has been entered in both the Kenora and the Elgin, which he won in 2003 after finishing third the previous year.

Jockey Todd Kabel has the call on Barbeau Ruckus for the Elgin. But Emile Ramsammy will do the honors if Barbeau Ruckus opts for the Kenora, in which Kabel is committed to Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.

Mobil, a 5-year-old horse trained by Mike Keogh, has been entered in both the Elgin and the Halton, a 1 1/8-mile yearling sales stakes on turf for 3-year-olds and up.

This marks the third consecutive year in which Mobil has been entered in the two races, and each year he has run in the Halton and won as the prohibitive choice.

The Halton attracted just five entrants.

Cool N Collective in fifth Elgin

Mobil will be making his fourth straight appearance in a yearling sales stakes, having also won the seven-furlong Simcoe for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

The most experienced yearling sales stakes performer among Sunday's entrants, however, is Cool N Collective, who will be making his fifth appearance in the Elgin.

An 8-year-old gelding, Cool N Collective has been based in New Jersey with trainer Dennis Manning since 2002 and has shipped up to Woodbine for the last three editions of the Elgin, finishing second each time. Cool N Collective won his only Elgin in his first try, as a 3-year-old, when he was owned by Earle Mack and based here with trainer Reade Baker. Mack owned Cool N Collective in 2002, but Cool N Collective's subsequent Elgin efforts have been for current owner Mac Fehsenfeld.

Whiskey and Low edges favorite

Whiskey and Low ($7.10) closed steadily and overtook Coastal Fortress in deep stretch to capture the $125,400 Eternal Search Stakes here Wednesday night.

Coastal Fortress, the 2-1 favorite in the Eternal Search, set moderate fractions on an uncontested lead while being tracked by Ours to Keep. After trailing on the backstretch, Whiskey and Low commenced a three-wide rally heading into the far turn and prevailed by three-quarters of a length. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:44.57.

Cherry Grove made an inside bid at the quarter pole and finished 1 1/2 lengths back in third in the six-horse field of Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Jockey Jim McAleney gave Whiskey and Low a strong ride for Baker, who leads all trainers at the meeting with eight stakes wins.

"At the head of the stretch, I knew that we had our work cut out for us, but we had enough room to get it done," said McAleney.

Whiskey and Low, racing without blinkers for the first time, earned $75,000 in her first stakes victory. She is owned by Harlequin Ranches.

Bourgainville prepares for Niagara

McAleney, who notched his seventh stakes win of the meeting in the Eternal Search, has picked up the mount on Bourgainville for Monday's $300,000 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Bourgainville was weighted at 112 pounds for the Niagara, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

Trained in England with Andrew Balding, Bourgainville checked in a couple of weeks ago along with stablemate Vanderlin, who won the Grade 2 Play the King Handicap over seven furlongs on turf last Saturday. Vanderlin is being pointed for the Grade 1, $1 million Atto Mile on turf, for which nominations closed at midnight Wednesday.

There has been speculation that Alinghi, the Australian star who made a winning North American debut in Saratoga's Ballston Spa Handicap on Monday, will make her next start in the Atto Mile. Alinghi's trainer, Bobby Frankel, confirmed Thursday that he had nominated both Alinghi and Leroidesanimaux, but said his Atto Mile plans remain undecided.

Wagering on South African races

Beginning Tuesday, Canadian horseplayers will have an opportunity to tackle a new frontier with the launch of commingled pools on South African racing.

Wagering on the South African races will be offered on Tuesday afternoons. Cards will originate from either Newmarket or Greyville and be joined in progress by approximately the third race.

One wrinkle involves place wagering, which pays off to the first three finishers. There will be no place wagering on fields with six horses or less.

Past performances and other information will be available at safracing.com.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink