04/28/2005 11:00PM

Track to offer 20-cent superfectas


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Woodbine will begin offering a 20-cent superfecta wagering option, with a minimum of five combinations, beginning May 6.

Several racetracks in the United States, including Sam Houston, Lone Star, Hawthorne, and Keeneland, have offered 10-cent superfectas, and Hollywood is set to follow suit.

The Woodbine superfecta will be available only on live Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing through the self-serve machines at Woodbine and its Champions teletheater network. Superfectas generally are offered on the fifth race and the final race on live programs.

Woodbine expects to expand the 20-cent superfecta option to its telephone-account and online wagering services in the near future.

Steve Mitchell, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Woodbine, said the 20-cent superfectas would be available only at Canadian locations because of "tote interface limitations."

Soaring Free and Sam-Son back home

The end of the Keeneland meeting annually signals the true beginning of the Ontario season for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad.

The outfit followed its annual ritual this year, campaigning at Fair Grounds in Louisiana before stopping over in Lexington, Ky., and the troops began pouring into the Sam-Son shed row here Wednesday.

The first wave included Soaring Free, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year; Dance With Ravens, the long-range Queen's Plate favorite; and Between the Clouds, a Labatt Woodbine Oaks hopeful.

Soaring Free began his championship campaign with a victory in Keeneland's Grade 3 Shakertown and started off on the same foot when he captured this year's renewal in game fashion on April 16.

After an indifferent effort on the dirt at Pimlico last year, Soaring Free put together a five-race win streak on the turf here, including the Highlander, Ontario Jockey Club, Play the King, and Atto Mile before concluding his campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star.

Frostad said Soaring Free could follow a similar program here this year, although all options will be examined. But a third straight trip to the Breeders' Cup Mile, which will be run at Belmont on Oct. 29, may be replaced by an appearance here in the Oct. 23 Nearctic.

The Grade 2 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race, has had its purse doubled to $500,000 this year and no longer will be run under handicap conditions, a fact that appeals to Frostad.

"The Nearctic certainly has to be tempting," said Frostad. "He may be a bit better off going shorter."

Dance With Ravens points for Marine

Dance With Ravens won his maiden in the Grade 2 Grey, a 1 1/16-mile race here last Oct. 11 that marked his first main-track appearance and his third and final start at 2.

After wintering in Florida, Dance With Ravens made his seasonal debut at Keeneland last Saturday and finished a close third in a first-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles on yielding turf.

"He ran a huge race," said Frostad, "having been off as long as he was, with not a whole lot of works, and with the turf soft. He'll get a whole lot out of that race."

Frostad said Dance With Ravens could use the 1 1/16-mile Marine, a Grade 3, $150,000 race here May 21, as a prelude to an appearance in the $150,000 Plate Trial, a 1 1/8-mile race here June 5.

The $1 million Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run here June 26.

Slight setback for Between the Clouds

Between the Clouds, a closing fourth in her debut over one mile at Fair Grounds on Feb. 20, was an impressive winner of her subsequent start at 1 1/16 miles there March 13.

Scheduled to see action in a two-turn allowance race at Keeneland on April 16, Between the Clouds flipped in the paddock and was scratched.

"She whacked her head," said Frostad, who sent out Between the Clouds to work five furlongs at Keeneland on Monday. "She seems to be okay now, but it blew a race for us. It looks like the Selene and Oaks now."

The Grade 3, $250,000 Selene, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, will be run here May 22. The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race restricted to Canadian-breds, goes June 12.

Eye of the Sphynx bred to A.P. Indy

Between the Clouds will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Eye of the Sphynx, Canada's champion 3-year-old filly, who won the Selene and Oaks for Sam-Son last year in her third and fourth outings.

Eye of the Sphynx had an even later start to her career, capturing her debut at Keeneland on April 22, and she also won the seven-furlong Fury here.

Eye of the Sphynx has now been retired and was bred to A.P. Indy in Kentucky, Frostad said.

"We thought we were going to bring her back," said Frostad. "But she wasn't perfect; she wouldn't have been as good as she was."

Clark-Rogers goes back to riding full time

Stacie Clark-Rogers, who has spent the past six years as a commentator and host for Woodbine's television department, will be on air for the last time Sunday afternoon.

"I'm a horseperson at heart," said Clark-Rogers. "I'm going back to work with the horses."

Clark-Rogers plans to gallop horses here, as she has throughout her television stint, and also at nearby Adena Springs North, the Ontario farm of owner-breeder Frank Stronach. Her husband, Mike Rogers, is business manager for Stronach Stable.

Clark-Rogers rode in races from the spring of 1993 through the fall of 1996 and recorded 87 winners. Her best campaign came in 1994, when she rode 31 winners and was a Sovereign Award finalist in the outstanding apprentice category.

Clark-Rogers trained Wisdom N Youth for her parents, Peter and Joan Clark, from 2000 through 2002.

Wisdom N Youth was an allowance winner and finished third in the Halton Stakes.

* Woodbine is set to swing into its full five-day-a-week schedule, with racing starting at 6:45 p.m. this Wednesday and at 12:55 p.m. on Thursday. Wednesday cards will be drawn on Sundays this year.