05/18/2008 11:00PM

Verdana Bold able to last in Selene

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The 1 1/16-mile distance was the big question mark for Verdana Bold entering Sunday's Grade 3, $259,300 Selene Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

And while the wire came none too soon for jockey Emile Ramsammy and trainer Danny Vella, Verdana Bold held on to prevail by a head for her second consecutive stakes victory.

"It wasn't really what we were looking for, in the way she ran," Vella said. "The middle fractions we're a little quick.

"But she's got no quit in her. She's a lovely filly."

Verdana Bold began her career in Maryland with trainer Rodney Jenkins but was sent to Vella this spring and won the six-furlong Star Shoot in her first start for her new barn April 13.

Vella then began tweaking Verdana Bold's training regimen in preparation for the Selene.

"I gave her some longer gallops, to try to get her to relax," Vella said. "She learns very quickly."

Verdana Bold is a Kentucky-bred, and her local options are limited.

"I may have to look out of town for her," Vella said. "But we're not in a hurry to run her back."

Initforreal impresses in Selene

The field for the Selene, which has been an important prep for the Woodbine Oaks, went with just two Canadian-breds but produced at least one starter for the division's premier race.

Initforreal, trained by Arthur Silvera, was sent off at 53-1 but rallied strongly to finish third, beaten just a touch over a length for all the money.

"She ran a great race," Silvera said. "We're going to the Oaks."

The $500,000 Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, will be run June 8.

Matt's Broken Vow puts it together

There was little fanfare accompanying Matt's Broken Vow heading into last Saturday's Grade 3, $151,300 Marine.

But Matt's Broken Vow, a 3-year-old trained by Josie Carroll, surfaced from the 1 1/16-mile Marine as a stakes winner under Ramsammy.

"He was in at the track last year, but he was very slow coming around," Carroll said.

"He couldn't seem to get it together. So, we sent him to the farm for a while and then got him ready to run in New Orleans."

Matt's Broken Vow's debut at Fair Grounds in late December was far from auspicious, as he finished last in a field of 10.

But the colt began to display positive signs when running for a $50,000 tag in his next two starts, finishing third and then graduating over six furlongs.

"I put him in those easier spots so he could get some confidence," Carroll said.

"He'd sporadically shown some brilliance in his works, but I had a hard time getting a handle on him. It took a while to figure him out."

Matt's Broken Vow continued to improve steadily after returning to Woodbine, finishing second in a first-level allowance and third in the six-furlong Woodstock.

But the Marine, around two turns, represented a new frontier.

Carroll prepared for the stretch out by working Matt's Broken Vow behind horses, teaching him to relax and experience some Polytrack kickback. In his final Marine drill, on May 12, Matt's Broken Vow blazed five furlongs in 57.60 seconds.

"I was concerned; I didn't think he would work that fast," Carroll said.

"But the way he did it, and the way he came back, I thought he had a really good shot on Saturday.

"I went in with a lot of confidence."

The next logical spot for Matt's Broken Vow, who is a Kentucky-bred, would be the $150,000 Victoria Park, an open 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds here June 8.

Authenicat preps for Woodbine Oaks

Carroll also is hoping to send out both Authenicat and Victory Romance in the Woodbine Oaks.

Authenicat, owned by Vinery Stable and Fog City Stable, is slated to prep for the Oaks in Saturday's Lady Angela, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

"She was either going to the Lady Angela or the Selene," Carroll said. "We decided the Lady Angela worked best for her."

Authenicat won the restricted Victorian Queen over six furlongs here last October and wound up her first campaign with a solid second-place finish in the Grade 3 Pocahontas over one mile at Churchill Downs.

In her only start this year, Authenicat finished second in the Star Shoot.

Carroll has a second Woodbine Oaks candidate in Victory Romance, an Alberta-bred who races for Donver Stable.

Victory Romance rebounded from a dismal effort in the Star Shoot to finish second here last Saturday in a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance for fillies and mares.

"I was pretty happy with that," Carroll said. "It's a tough time of year to hook 4-year-olds.

"The same thing happened to my Plate horse, Silver Jag."

A homebred who races for Earl Daynes, Silver Jag has run just three times and turned in his best effort to date when second behind the promising 4-year-old Perfect Bullet in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race here May 11.

"He was really game," Carroll said.

Silver Jag is nominated to the $150,000 Plate Trial, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds here June 1.

The $1 million, 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate is set for June 22.

Cool Gator, Niagara Thunder work

Cool Gator and Niagara Thunder, who also are nominated to the Plate Trial, both breezed here Sunday morning.

Cool Gator, under new rider Jim McAleney, went six furlongs in 1:12.80 for Vella.

"He did it on his own," said Vella, adding that he caught Cool Gator galloping out seven furlongs in "1:25 and change."

"He went very well."

Niagara Thunder, under jockey David Clark, prepped five furlongs in 1:01.40 for trainer Alec Fehr.

"I wanted him to relax early and kick on home," Fehr said.

Disfunction sets track record in Vigil

Disfunction ($15) lowered Woodbine's seven-furlong track record while capturing his first stakes win Monday in the $153,700 Vigil, a Grade 3 event for older runners.

Emile Ramsammy, who rode Disfunction, swept all three stakes run at Woodbine on the weekend. His other scores came on Verdana Bold in the Grade 3 Selene on Sunday and aboard Matt's Broken Vow in the Grade 3 Marine on Saturday.

Disfunction dueled outside of Sail From Seattle and Lake Secret through wind-aided fractions of 22.31 seconds and 43.75. He opened up a clear lead early in the stretch, and held on to prevail by three-quarters of a length over 36-1 shot Storm Caller. Dancer's Bajan wound up third, and favored Alezzandro finished sixth in the nine-horse field.

The final time of 1:20.51 was .03 of a second faster than the former record, which was set by Verne's Baby in 2006.

"He was so relaxed," Ramsammy said. "I really didn't think that he ran that fast, but there was a big, strong tailwind, and a headwind in the stretch."

Disfunction earned $90,000 for the partnership of Weila Ye and JMJ's Stable. It was trainer Julia Carey's first stakes victory.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink