10/08/2008 11:00PM

Van Lear Rose considers Breeders' Cup


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Van Lear Rose may have earned herself a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with her victory here in Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Mazarine.

Owned by Kingview Farm, the nom du course of Richard Day, Van Lear Rose was making her fifth start in the Grade 3 Mazarine and coming off her first win in the seven-furlong Muskoka, a yearling sales stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

"I thought she'd really like to stretch out, which she did," said Day Phillips, who watched Van Lear Rose come from eighth place in the field of 10 to grind out a half-length victory under jockey Chantal Sutherland in the Mazarine. "She just did everything right; she was perfect. She was nice to train from the beginning, and she's sort of gotten smarter as we've gone along."

Van Lear Rose is nominated to the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies here Nov. 1 in which she obviously would be a top contender.

But Day Phillips also is taking a long look at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, which will be run at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

"I think she's kind of the right horse to go to that kind of race," Day Phillips said. "She's had five races, and she came out of this race really well.

"After the yearling sales stakes, she was a little bit tired. It took her a week or two to get back to herself. This race was the opposite; she's certainly not tired at all."

Mine That Bird keeps on winning

Last Sunday's Grade 3 Grey Stakes was supposed to be a bon voyage party for Southern Exchange, who was the 4-5 favorite in a race that was intended as his stepping-stone to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

But when the dust had cleared at the end of the 1 1/16-mile Grey, it was Mine That Bird in the spotlight, with Southern Exchange beaten 10 1/2 lengths as the last-place finisher in the field of six.

Mine That Bird, a Kentucky-bred gelding owned by his trainer, Dave Cotey, in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith, recorded his fourth straight win and third straight stakes success in the Grey, which was his first try around two turns.

Purchased for $9,500 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's October sale, Mine That Bird has earned $324,240.

But one area in which Mine That Bird has not progressed is on the Beyer Speed Figure front, which came in at 77, 76, and then 75 for his three stakes wins under the ubiquitous Sutherland.

"Chantal sits on him and waits, like she should, but he's never going to get a good number until he gets something to run at," said Cotey, noting that Saturday's slow opening three-quarters of 1:14 were unlikely to lead to a quick final clocking. "He always comes home quick. He's been getting his last sixteenth in six seconds or so.

"But it's all right. He keeps on winning. He'll get a lot out of that race."

The 1 1/16-mile Display, the last open stakes for 2-year-olds at the meeting, will not be run until Dec. 6, so Cotey will be exploring out-of-town options.

"I have no hesitation at all in taking him down to Churchill Downs or New York," said Cotey, citing the one-mile Iroquois at Churchill Downs on Nov. 1 and the one-mile Nashua at Aqueduct on Nov. 2 as potential targets.

In the meantime, Cotey has fielded inquiries from several prospective buyers and could let Mine That Bird go for the right price.

Southern Exchange disappoints in Grey

Meanwhile, trainer Greg De Gannes was keeping a stiff upper lip despite being severely disappointed by Southern Exchange's performance in the Grey.

Southern Exchange, a Florida-bred 2-year-old owned by Bill and Vicki Poston, began his career here with three straight victories, including two stakes, before shipping west for the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

Although he finished fourth in the seven-furlong Futurity, Southern Exchange was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by winner Midshipman and a half-length by third-place Street Hero, who returned to finish second and first, respectively, in Santa Anita's Norfolk.

Stretching out for the first time here Sunday, Southern Exchange was rank early under jockey Jono Jones and had nothing left for the stretch drive.

"Yes, he was a little rank," De Gannes said. "Why wouldn't he be, after going a half in 49 [seconds]? I was concerned there would be no pace, and there wasn't. It was an oddly run race.

"My greatest fear at all times is having a short-priced favorite in a small field. Something always goes wrong. It's unfortunate, what was lost in a span of a minute and 44 seconds. But the horse is physically fine; we'll live to fight on."

While De Gannes has not entirely abandoned all hope of getting Southern Exchange to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he also will be exploring other options south of the border.

And De Gannes still is on target for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with CoKarma, who earned a guaranteed berth with her win in the Natalma here Sept. 14.

"She'll be leaving Monday evening," De Gannes said.

Apprentice O'Brien out with injury

Apprentice jockey Catherine O'Brien will miss the balance of the Ontario season after suffering a broken shin bone during a spill at Fort Erie on Monday.

O'Brien, 28, had been riding at both Wooodbine and Fort Erie this year, winning with 19 of 237 mounts at Woodbine and with 20 of 134 mounts at Fort Erie.

As of Wednesday, O'Brien was the second-leading apprentice in races won in Canada this season. Janine Stianson, who rode at Assiniboia Downs, led with 58.

* Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the owner of Kingview Farm. It is Richard Day, not Catherine Day Phillips and her husband, Todd.