06/28/2007 11:00PM

Vestrey Lady tries to regain 2006 form


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The $100,000 Sweet Briar Too figures to be lost in the shuffle on a Sunday card that features the Dominion Day and Bison City here at Woodbine.

But that's just fine with trainer Reade Baker, who will be looking to get Vestrey Lady back on track in the seven-furlong overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

The 4-year-old Vestrey Lady was second in the Sovereign Award voting for her division last year after winning two stakes here and finishing a bang-up second in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland. After ending a close third in her 2007 debut in an open five-furlong turf allowance at Gulfstream Park, Vestrey Lady returned to Woodbine amidst high hopes.

But in her first start locally, in the Grade 3 Whimsical at six furlongs on April 15, Vestrey Lady finished a non-threatening fourth as the odds-on choice. Slightly more than four weeks later, in the mile and 70-yard off-the-turf prep for the Nassau, Vestrey Lady was favored at 2-1 but finished a faltering sixth.

"She was good in Florida, and maybe I overestimated how she was feeling here," said Baker. "She's certainly feisty right now, and that's the way she was last year when she was good. I expect her to run well this time."

Emile Ramsammy, who was aboard Vestrey Lady for a six-furlong drill in 1:11.60 here June 21, has taken over the mount for the Sweet Briar Too.

Vestrey Lady's five opponents in the Nassau include Roving Angel, who would be a formidable opponent on her best effort, and Saoirse, an erstwhile turf sprinter who will be making her local debut for new trainer Malcolm Pierce.

Attfield has contenders in two stakes

Trainer Roger Attfield will be looking for another double dip in the older horse division with Palladio going in Sunday's Grade 3 Dominion Day over 1 1/4 miles of Polytrack and Eccentric entered in Monday's Grade 2 King Edward over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

Palladio and Eccentric both won their local seasonal bows.

The 5-year-old Palladio captured the Gradeo3 Eclipse over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack on May 21. Eccentric, a 6-year-old gelding, followed suit six days later in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup over 1 1/16 miles of yielding grass.

While Palladio will vie for favoritism with True Metropolitan in the $200,000 Dominion Day, Eccentric will be ranked behind Gradeo1 stakes winners Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya in the $300,000 King Edward.

And that may be a mistake, as both Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya come into the King Edward off layoffs, while five weeks between starts should be perfect for Eccentric. But, the possibility of an overly firm turf course is a concern for Attfield.

"I think he liked the bit of give in the ground last time," said Attfield, noting that Eccentric also had been a Group 3 winner in England over good turf. "He has flat-soled feet; he doesn't like it too hard. It would be nice to see some rain."

The King Edward will be the third start over the Woodbine turf course for Eccentric, who finished third behind Sky Conqueror and French Beret in an open allowance over one mile of good going last Oct. 8. That race was Eccentric's North American debut, his first start for Attfield, and his first outing in seven months.

"That was a very good race," said Attfield. "That's why I went into that race at Keeneland."

The race at Keeneland was the Oct. 28 Fayette, a Grade 3 stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack that Eccentric won at 8-1.

"He handles either track, turf or Poly," said Attfield. "Palladio's not a bad horse on turf, either."

Pellegrino still can win in the right spots

Pellegrino, an 8-year-old horse, has won stakes here on both turf and Polytrack and adds depth to Attfield's roster.

A Grade 1 winner back in 2004, Pellegrino has achieved his successes here in overnight stakes with the most recent the Singspiel over 1 1/2 miles of turf on Queen's Plate Day.

Pellegrino came into the Singspiel off a fourth-place finish in the Connaught Cup, which was his first start of the meeting.

"He's doing really well this year," said Attfield. "But, you probably need to pick his spots a little bit."

Stay Close ships from Delaware

Despite the ominous presence of Sky Conqueror and Jambalaya, the King Edward did attract one shipper in Stay Close, who has been based at Delaware Park with trainer Michael Zwiesler.

Stay Close began his career in England and made three starts for trainer Mark Casse here in 2005 before heading south to Zwiesler.

This year, Stay Close has won 4 of 6 starts, including the Henry Clark over one mile of turf at Pimlico and a classified allowance race over 1 1/16 miles of grass in his latest outing at Delaware on June 2.

Sky Mom supplemented to My Dear

Monday's supporting feature, the $125,000 My Dear for 2-year-old fillies, attracted a pair of shippers in Sky Mom and Lune Rouge.

Sky Mom, trained by Steve Asmussen, has won her last two starts, including a five-furlong allowance at Churchill Downs in which she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

Sky Mom was supplemented to the My Dear at a cost of $2,500.

Lune Rouge, trained by Joe Kasperski, was a front-running winner of her first career start in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special at Arlington Park on June 10.

Sabourin changes agents

Ray Sabourin, who had been represented by jockey agent Neal Wilson, is now with Kerri Beauclaire. Beauclaire also books mounts for apprentice Tyler Pizarro.

Wilson has picked up the book of newcomer Anthony Stephen, who rode at Hastings in 2005 and 2006 and spent the first part of this year competing in Macau and India.

Stephen, 33, made his Ontario debut with three mounts at Fort Erie last weekend.

Wilson also represents Emile Ramsammy.