08/21/2005 11:00PM

Two apprentices running the show so far


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - At the halfway point of the Woodbine meeting, perhaps the biggest story here this year has been the accomplishments of popular apprentices Emma Wilson and Corey Fraser, who rank one-two in the rider standings.

Wilson, who will turn 24 on Sept. 1, is trying to become the first female jockey to win a riding title in Ontario since flash-in-the-pan Valerie Thompson accomplished the feat at the 1980 Greenwood fall meeting. Wilson has won 87 races and leads Fraser by eight wins.

Wilson said she and her agent, Mike Luider, feel they can maintain their position atop the standings.

"We started rolling a lot sooner than we were anticipating, and we're looking to keep on trucking and maintain that momentum," Wilson said. "Traditionally, bug riders do much better in the fall. The main thing is to keep riding as many winners as we can and to keep having fun."

Fraser, 28, last year's Sovereign Award-winning apprentice, is far ahead of the third-leading rider, Patrick Husbands, who has 61 wins.

Fraser, whose apprenticeship is scheduled to end Sept. 30, has ridden 124 fewer horses at the meeting than Wilson and has the highest win percentage (18.9) of any rider in the top 15. The only other regular local rider with a higher win percentage is James McKnight (21.2), who has had just 66 mounts.

"I think my season couldn't be going any better," Fraser said. "I just want to keep it up."

Fraser said he and his agent, Lorne Spearman, have been planning for his life as a journeyman.

"We've been trying to set things up for the years to come," Fraser said. "One of our main goals from the beginning was to develop relationships, and I think we've got a lot of reputable clients who are going to stick with us."

Jim McAleney is the leading money winner among riders at the meeting, with about $3.8 million in purse earnings. He is followed by Todd Kabel ($3.7 million), Wilson ($3.6 million), Fraser ($3.5 million), and Husbands ($3.4 million).

Attard tops trainer standings

Sid Attard sits atop the trainer standings with 35 wins from 152 starters. He captured Woodbine training titles in 1996 and 2004, but said he has never strived to be the leading trainer by taking an edge with his stock.

"We just go on with our business," Attard said. "If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. It would be nice if it happens, but I won't drop horses to make it happen again."

Reade Baker ranks second with 28 wins, one more than Bob Tiller. Mark Casse, Abraham Katryan, and Scott Fairlie are tied for fourth, with 25 victories apiece.

Baker won three races last Sunday and is the leading money winner among trainers, with about $2.4 million.

Katryan, who added two wins to his total last week, said he hopes to give Attard a run for his money in the fall.

"Catching Sid will be tough," Katryan said. "He has a lot of ammunition and has been doing a lot of claiming. I have a lot of nice horses, including some maidens, and I should have a good fall."

Two Woodbine trainers have been winning at a 30 percent clip, the highest of any trainer at the meeting with at least 20 starters. They are Lorna Perkins (6 for 20) and Eric Coatrieux (9 for 30).

Spanish Decree ends turf drought

Spanish Decree, a durable 6-year-old mare owned and trained by Frank Huarte, was 0 for 12 on the grass before Sunday's $125,800 Victoriana Stakes, but the shutout ended when she pulled a 10-1 upset in the Ontario-sired event.

Spanish Decree relished the yielding ground to capture her second straight stakes in the 1 1/16-mile Victoriana. She took the Ernie Samuel Memorial over a sloppy track at Fort Erie in her previous start under jockey Gerry Olguin, who is now 2 for 2 on her.

"I tried to ride the same race that I did last time, and everything set up very well," Olguin said. "The turf was excellent. That's how the grass should be - with a little bounce to it. I love the way she ran on it."

The Victoriana was Spanish Decree's first Woodbine stakes score since 2002, when she won both the Lady Angela and Jammed Lovely.

Storm Sizzle tops feature field

Storm Sizzle heads Wednesday's nominal feature, a $40,000 claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on the grass.

Trained by Mike Mareina, Storm Sizzle defeated $62,500 opposition here May 22 after shipping in from Fair Grounds, then ran seventh in the Grade 3 Highlander Handicap. He earned a career-high 90 Beyer Speed Figure when finishing a close second to Sir Blitz in a $50,000 claimer July 29. Jono Jones has the mount on Storm Sizzle.

* Woodbine has added a third superfecta to its wagering menu and will now offer superfecta betting on the fifth, eighth, and last races. Eight-race cards will continue to have just two supers.