04/10/2007 11:00PM

V S O P Please seeks to resume winning streak


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Jody Hammett is off to a good start this spring here at Woodbine, winning with 3 of his first 4 starters at the meeting.

Hammett, who wintered at Palm Meadows and sent out 3 winners from 17 starters at Gulfstream, has returned with some ready runners.

Johnny Hollywood, who started four times at Gulfstream, capitalized on his fitness edge by winning the first seven-furlong race of the season here last Friday.

But Hammett's other winners here, Kerry Fair and Soothing, both wintered on the farm of his principal client, Herbert Chambers.

"If you run them in the right spots, and give them a chance to win, they should be able do well," said Hammett, who has 25 stalls here and 35 horses in training. He won 22 races at the 2006 Woodbine meeting.

The Florida venture was a first for Hammett, who at 33 is in his fourth year as a full-fledged trainer.

"We had a lot of unraced 3-year-olds I wanted to bring up there," Hammett said. "And my good horse, 'V O,' was coming off surgery from last year and I figured that would be the best place to get him ready to race early in the spring."

"V O," more formally known as V S O P Please, is an Ontario-bred 5-year-old gelding who won his first three starts here last spring. He will be looking to extend that streak when he jumps into stakes company for Saturday's $125,000 Jacques Cartier.

Owned by Chambers, V S O P Please turned plenty of heads when he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102 in his debut and then took a pair of allowance races in easy fashion before his campaign came to an unscheduled end.

Hammett penciled in the Kenora, a six-furlong yearling stakes, as a long-term target for V S O P Please last year. The Kenora was scheduled to be one of the first stakes run on the new Polytrack surface, and Hammett elected not to run V S O P Please over the inner track, which hosted dirt racing during the construction period.

But when the Kenora came around Sept. 4, V S O P Please was on the sidelines.

"He came up with some problems," Hammett said. "I could have run him, but the best thing was to put him away until this year and try to keep him as good as I can."

V S O P Please's off-season program included the aforementioned surgery, which Hammett said went smoothly.

"He had a couple of chips taken out of his left knee," Hammett said. "But they were in a good spot. They weren't in a joint area - they were just on the outside of the knee.

"It was very easy to get into and clear it up with no damage to the knee whatsoever. His recovery was 100 percent."

Hammett considered running V S O P Please in an allowance race at Keeneland on his way north from Florida but decided the better course would be to come straight home and point for the six-furlong Jacques Cartier, an open race for 4-year-olds and upward.

That would give V S O P Please four weeks to regroup for the $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward here May 12.

But despite the fact that V S O P Please has not seen action in more than nine months and is stepping up sharply, Hammett is looking at the Jacques Cartier as more than a steppingstone.

"It's a big step for him, company-wise," Hammett acknowledged. "But he's a great big, good-looking horse, and with the way he's performed, if anybody deserves a shot to run against stakes company it would be him."

Like Mom Like Sons shines in '07 debut

Like Mom Like Sons turned in the most impressive performance of the young meeting when he won a second-level allowance here last Saturday.

A 3-year-old trained by Sid Attard, Like Mom Like Sons had won his first two starts here last fall and wintered in Florida with Woodbine's April 21 Woodstock his first major target.

Attard wanted Like Mom Like Sons to have a race before the Woodstock, and when the five-furlong prep failed to fill, the colt wound up facing some racing-fit older rivals at 6 1/2 furlongs, his longest test to date.

Like Mom Like Sons led throughout for a 3 1/2-length victory, which yielded a Beyer Speed Figure of 95.

"He ran really huge," said Attard. "I was a little worried about the distance; he hadn't worked more than four furlongs this year. I was thinking maybe he'd come up a little short."

Like Mom Like Son was sent off at even-money here last Saturday and should be an even shorter price in the $125,000 Woodstock, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds that attracted just 12 nominees.

Jiggs Coz preps for Queenston

Attard also has a solid Canadian-bred 3-year-old in Jiggs Coz, who trained in Kentucky during the off-season.

Jiggs Coz captured the 1 1/16-mile Display here in his third and final start as a 2-year-old after winning his debut over 6 1/2 furlongs of turf and then finishing third in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity.

With the $1 million Queen's Plate here June 24 his obvious target, Jiggs Coz is scheduled to make his seasonal bow in the $150,000 Queenston here May 5. The seven-furlong Queenston is for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds.

"He's coming around," said Attard, who sent out Jiggs Coz to work five furlongs in a bullet 1:01.20 here last Friday.

Real Dilemma set for stalking trip

Attard, with two wins and a second from his first three starts at the meeting, has a good shot to take Friday's $66,800 feature with Real Dilemma.

Real Dilemma has four rivals, including stakes winners Lottacosta and Stillistillmovin, in the 5 1/2-furlong second-level allowance for 3-year-old fillies.

After winning her debut at five furlongs here early last fall, Real Dilemma disappointed in her second outing but rebounded to win a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Real Dilemma, with apprentice jockey Michelle Rainford in the irons, should get a good stalking trip here behind Lottacosta, who led throughout the five-furlong My Dear, and Stillistillmovin, who went wire to wire in the five-furlong Ontario Debutante.