09/10/2006 11:00PM

Vanderlin's travels bring him to Mile again

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Vanderlin checked in from England late last summer and was an upset winner of the Play the King, the seven-furlong turf race that is the major prep for the Woodbine Mile.

Vanderlin stayed here for the Woodbine Mile and subsequently ran fourth behind runaway winner Leroidesanimaux. Vanderlin's connections have taken a different approach this time around and shipped him here a week ahead of Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile for 3-year-olds and upward. As of Monday, 13 horses were considered probable for the race.

"I don't know what it is about Canada," said Leanne Masterton, exercise rider and assistant to Vanderlin's trainer, Andrew Balding, who was here with Vanderlin last year. "It seems to put the fire back into his belly when he comes here."

Vanderlin, a 7-year-old gelding, has had another peripatetic campaign this season, beginning with a dead heat for the win in a listed stakes at one mile on the all-weather surface at Lingfield.

Vanderlin then journeyed to Hong Kong, where he finished a close fifth in the 13-horse field for the Champions Mile, and then returned to England, where he has started twice more with varying results.

After running second in a listed stakes at seven furlongs at Chester on July 15, Vanderlin ended a distant last of seven in the Grade 1 Sussex stakes at one mile at Goodwood.

"He ran a real nice race at Chester," said Masterton. "When he ran in the Sussex, he came back very sore."

Dalavin gets in drill

Dalavin, fourth in this year's Play the King on Aug. 26, tuned up for the Woodbine Mile by working five furlongs in 1:02.40 around the dogs on a good main turf course Sunday.

Constant Montpellier, who will ride Dalavin for the first time in the Woodbine Mile, was aboard for the drill.

"He worked well," said trainer Audre Cappuccitti, who is also co-owner of Dalavin along with her husband, Gord Cappuccitti. "I'm really pleased with him."

Dalavin, a 5-year-old gelding, has won 5 of 20 races, with his lone stakes score coming in the Charlie Barley at one mile on turf in 2003.

In the Play the King, which was the third start of his current campaign, Dalavin was beaten a total of 1 1/2 lengths.

Le Cinquieme Essai, the leading locally based hopeful for the Woodbine Mile, won the Play the King by a half-length over Becrux but has since suffered a suspensory injury that put an end to his 2006 campaign.

Becrux, who had shipped in from California for trainer Neil Drysdale, stayed here to complete his Woodbine Mile preparations.

Shoal Water continues comeback

Shoal Water, another local candidate for the Mile, worked five furlongs over Polytrack on Sunday in 59 seconds.

Regular rider Robert Landry was aboard Shoal Water, who went in company with stablemate Mulmur and apprentice jockey Catherine O'Brien.

Mulmur, a maiden 3-year-old, also was clocked in 59 seconds, equaling the best of 53 workouts at the distance.

"We sharpened him up, put a little speed into him," Mark Frostad said of Shoal Water, whom he trains for Sam-Son Farm. "We'll see what happens."

Shoal Water, a 6-year-old gelding, was away for almost two years before returning with a close fourth-place finish in the King Edward at 1 1/8 miles on turf here July 3.

In two subsequent outings, both in Grade 2 turf races at 1 1/2 miles, Shoal Water ended a well-beaten fourth over soft going in the Northern Dancer and seventh of eight in the Nijinsky over a yielding surface.

Awesome Action possible

Awesome Action, who is on the fence for the Woodbine Mile, breezed five furlongs on Polytrack in 1:02.20 here Monday.

A 6-year-old gelding trained by Sue Leslie, Awesome Action is coming off a troubled seventh-place finish, beaten just three lengths, in the Play the King.

Awesome Action finished sixth of nine in last year's Woodbine Mile.