06/24/2007 12:00AM

Versatility an asset for Jiggs Coz

Michael Burns
Jiggs Coz, training Wednesday, was made the morning-line favorite for the Plate at 9-5.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Jiggs Coz will try to cement his standing atop the Canadian-bred 3-year-old division Sunday while seeking his fourth consecutive stakes score in the $1 million Queen's Plate.

The 148th running of the 1 1/4-mile Plate, North America's oldest continuously run stakes, drew a nine-horse field and heads an excellent 11-race card that includes three other stakes, most notably the Grade 3 Highlander. The special post time for the first race is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.

This year's Plate will be the first one run on the Polytrack, and is the first leg of the unique Canadian Triple Crown. The second race of the series, the $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes, will be run at 1 3/16 miles on the dirt at Fort Erie on July 15. The final leg, the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes, will be contested at 1 1/2 miles on the grass here Aug. 5.

Jiggs Coz, trained by Sid Attard for Jim Dandy Stable, overcame a wide trip to take the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths in his season opener. Three weeks ago in the Plate Trial Stakes, he pressed a slow pace under David Clark before cruising to a comfortable win.

"I was really happy when I saw that there was no pace and he was right there," said Attard, regarding the Trial. "All I asked [Clark] to do was to not get caught on the rail. He gave him a very good ride. He was going a mile and an eighth, and he only had one seven-eighth race. I don't think a mile and a quarter will be a problem for him."

On Sunday, Clark will start from post 6 aboard Jiggs Coz, the 9-5 mornling-line favorite.

Jiggs Coz's tactical speed is one of his assets. He figures to be on or near the lead if the Plate pace is on the slow side, but a fast pace would likely have him stalking three or four lengths back. His adaptability may give him an edge over the well-bred A.P. Indy colt Marchfield, who's basically a midpack closer.

Marchfield rallied wide from third to end up second in the Trial, which came a month after he graduated by a nose in a fast maiden special at 1 1/16 miles.

"I was worried his [win] would be a little hard on him because of that battle down the lane," said trainer Mark Casse. "He didn't punch home as well as I thought he would in the Trial, but that could have been because of the slow pace. He's had some time to recover. I think he's doing quite well."

Casse acknowledged that Jiggs Coz is the one to beat on Sunday, but he believes Marchfield is ideally suited to the race conditions.

"I think Marchfield is probably better suited to going a mile and a quarter than anybody in the race, but maybe Jiggs Coz has enough ability to get the distance," he said.

Marchfield will start immediately outside Jiggs Coz in post 7, and will be ridden by Patrick Husbands.

Leonnatus Anteas, last year's Canadian champion 2-year-old, missed a considerable amount of training over the winter due an injury, according to trainer Kevin Attard. After some swimming in February, he resumed training in mid-March in Florida and began working here in early May. In his seasonal debut, on June 3, he finished a close second after breaking tardily facing older opponents in a seven-furlong optional claimer.

"I was exceptionally satisfied with his performance," said Attard. "I didn't think he was fit enough to run seven-eighths the way he did. He came to hand faster than we thought he would."

Attard will also saddle Alezzandro, who faded to third after leading the way in the Trial, which was just his second career race.

New York invader Daaher is also starting for just the third time in the Plate, a race his sire, Awesome Again, won in his third lifetime outing in 1997.

Supplemented to the Plate for $25,000, Daaher ran greenly while finishing far back in his debut on the Polytrack at Keeneland. He graduated at 1 1/16 miles around one turn at Belmont on May 12.

"We think he has a good future," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "We just hope he can handle the Polytrack."

Mike Fox defeated a solid group of older optional claimers under Emma Wilson in his second start for trainer Ian Black on May 23.

"He's on the right kind of learning curve," said Wilson. "Hopefully, the best is yet to come."

Twilight Meteor, based at Belmont with trainer Todd Pletcher, is a turf specialist with two Polytrack efforts on his resume, one good and one bad.

Cobrador and Include Us, fourth and fifth in the Trial, complete the field.