05/03/2007 11:00PM

Two Queen's Plate hopefuls in maiden route


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mountain Wolf and Marchfield, who both are aiming for the $1 million Queen's Plate, will make their Woodbine season debuts in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special on Sunday.

The Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run on June 24. Both Mountain Wolf and Marchfield ran in 1o1/8-mile races in their last appearances, which came at Gulfstream Park.

Mountain Wolf, owned and bred by Team Stronach and trained by Brian Lynch, finished first on March 31 but was disqualified and placed third.

Mountain Wolf was making his third career start that day, all at Gulfstream. He had finished fifth over seven furlongs on the dirt and fifth over 1 1/8 miles on the turf under jockey Kent Desormeaux.

"I was trying to get a two-turn race into him," said Lynch, of Mountain Wolf's turf try. "He bore out and nearly bolted when Desormeaux hit him with his left hand."

Lynch believes Javier Castellano placed too much emphasis on that performance when he took over aboard Mountain Wolf last time, on March 3.

"Castellano had it in his head that the horse was going to bear out, and kept him pocketed inside," said Lynch. "When he decided he needed to get out, he was in so tight he came out into other horses.

"He had plenty of opportunities to take him out earlier. It was a bad ride."

Marchfield faltered badly to finish ninth.

Marchfield's trainer, Mark Casse, said Marchfield had bled badly in his last outing and was given about six weeks off in Ocala before heading north to resume his preparations at Woodbine.

"He won't have an excuse," said Casse, who sent out Marchfield to finish second behind subsequent Canadian champion Leonnatus Anteas in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity here last fall.

"He's doing as well as he can do; it's all up to him now. We've scoped him after each of his breezes, and there weren't any signs of blood."

Marchfield, owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk, will race with blinkers for the first time on Sunday under Patrick Husbands.

"Patrick has said all along he wasn't focusing," said Casse. "He can be a little shy around horses. We worked him last time with blinkers, and he worked quite well."

Quiet Action among five in Fury

Casse, who was at Churchill Downs on Friday to saddle Sealy Hill for the Kentucky Oaks, also will be represented in Sunday's Woodbine feature, the $125,000 Fury, with Quiet Action among the five entrants in the seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

The Fury is an important prep for the $500,000 Wooodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies here June 10.

Quiet Action, however, is not eligible for the Woodbine Oaks and would have to be supplemented on the day of entries at a cost of $12,500, which includes the $5,000 entry fee.

"There really isn't anything else for her here right now," said Casse, of Quiet Action's presence in the Fury. "She's definitely better on grass."

Quiet Action finished second in the Grade 3 Natalma, a one-mile turf race at Woodbine last September, and came back and ran second to Catch the Thrill in the Princess Elizabeth over 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack.

But in the Ontario Lassie, also over 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack, Quiet Action faltered to finish sixth.

"When we scoped her afterwards, we found an ulcer in her throat," said Casse.

Catch the Thrill still in recovery

Catch the Thrill, Canada's champion 2-year-old filly, was nominated to the Fury but is not in the lineup, and her status for the Woodbine Oaks is questionable.

"It depends on how fast she comes around - it's taking a little longer than we thought it would," said trainer Mark Frostad, explaining that Catch the Thrill underwent knee surgery following the conclusion of her first campaign last year and spent the winter in Kentucky. "We're going to give her all the time she needs. If she doesn't make the Oaks, it's not the end of the world."

Catch the Thrill, who followed her Princess Elizabeth victory with a second-place finish in the Ontario Lassie last fall, has two breezes this spring, both over three furlongs.

Frostad: Quiet Jungle 'serious horse'

Frostad still has a potential Woodbine Oaks candidate in the entries Sunday - Quiet Jungle, who is owned and bred by Sam-Son and will run in a first-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies over 1 1/16 miles.

"I think she's a serious horse," said Frostad.

Quiet Jungle, unstarted at 2, debuted at the Fair Grounds on March 15 and closed to finish second, beaten a nose, in a maiden special over one mile of sloppy going, but was promoted to the top spot via a disqualification.

Four weeks later, in a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack at Keeneland, Quiet Jungle rallied from last in the field of 11 to finish fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

"She didn't break well and got stuck behind horses," said Frostad. "She came from nowhere, nine wide, to finish fourth behind some very nice horses."

Panty Raid, the winner of that April 13 Keeneland race, was coming off a second-place finish in Turfway's Grade 3 Bourbonette, where she was beaten a head by Sealy Hill.

Late-starting Leonnatus Anteas works

Leonnatus Anteas had his first breeze of the season at Woodbine Friday, going three furlongs in company in 37.40 seconds.

Jono Jones, who rode Leonnatus Anteas to three stakes wins in as many starts last year, was aboard for the drill.

"Jono loved the way he went," said Kevin Attard, who trains Leonnatus Anteas. "He galloped out wonderfully."

Although it is appearing increasingly unlikely that Leonnatus Anteas will make the Queen's Plate, Attard is refusing to throw in the towel.

"It will be tough," Attard acknowledged. "But I won't rule him out yet, either."