05/29/2001 12:00AM

Won Strike ready for Trial


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Won Strike, the lone horse supplemented to this year's Queen's Plate, is poised to make his next start Saturday at Woodbine in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial Stakes.

Owner Dan Butler recently paid $15,000 to make Won Strike eligible to the June 24 Plate, a payment necessary because Won Strike wasn't originally nominated to the 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Won Strike debuted with a third-place finish at Lone Star last summer and graduated third time out in a six-furlong maiden special at the Fair Grounds. He won his second attempt at the first allowance level going a mile and 40 yards at Fair Grounds, and was turned over to trainer Mark Casse after that March 4 engagement. He finished fourth in his only local outing in the six-furlong Achievement Handicap.

Casse decided to give Won Strike a breather after the April 1 Achievement. "We had a few little problems with him," said Casse, "and we think we've got them worked out."

Won Strike worked a mile over a good main track last Saturday in 1:41, much to Casse's satisfaction. "He worked really well," said the trainer. "He galloped out strong."

Patrick Husbands, who teamed up with Casse to win Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont, has the call on Won Strike.

Other Plate Trial probables include Win City, Millennium Allstar, Highland Legacy, Legal Heir, Brushing Bully, and Thatsthebottomline.

Win City, the early Plate favorite in Daily Racing Form's rankings, has won two straight stakes, the seven-furlong Queenston and the 1 1/16-mile Marine. He beat open company in the Marine after overcoming some traffic problems on the far turn, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 94 in the process.

Trainer Bob Tiller said Tuesday that Win City will be entered in the Trial. "We're going to enter him and then make a final decision," said Tiller. "I believe he's doing very well. I'd love to win it, but in my eyes, I don't have to win the Plate Trial to be a contender in the Plate. I'm looking for a good race from my horse."

Millennium Allstar beat Win City first time out this year in the Achievement, but finished a half-length back of him in the Queenston after blowing a three-length lead at the eighth pole.

Highland Legacy, the 2000 Sovereign Award-winning champion 2-year-old, was a nonthreatening third in his lone start this year in the Queenston for Steve Owens, who also trains Legal Heir. Legal Heir is coming off a front-running allowance score in his first try around two turns.

Brushing Bully captured the open Display Stakes last fall, but was a well-beaten sixth against older opponents in his lone outing in an optional claimer this year.

Thatsthebottomline has won two straight 1 1/16-mile races, a maiden special and a slow preliminary allowance.

Lucky Scarab, Lucky Devil, Jimmy's Prize, and Fame and Honour are Plate-eligible maidens who could see action in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight event here Sunday.

Champion can dominate feature

Catch the Ring, last year's champion 3-year-old filly, will be heavily favored in Thursday's Woodbine headliner, a 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the June 17 Ontario Matron Handicap.

Catch the Ring captured the first two legs of the 2000 Canadian Triple Tiara, the Canadian Oaks and the Bison City Stakes. A sweep of the Tiara was prevented when her entrymate, Misty Mission, beat her on turf in the Wonder Where Stakes.

Catch the Ring ran evenly to end up fifth in her seasonal debut in a tough allowance race on the grass at Keeneland April 19. Robert Landry rides for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad.

Completing the eighth-race field will be Cafe Dancer, Inspired Kiss, Katherine of Ascot, and Colebrookadvantage.

Inspired Kiss was fourth in the 2000 Oaks, and nearly beat Catch the Ring when second in Fort Erie's Bison City. She launched her current campaign with a respectable fourth-place finish here in a May 11 allowance.

Inspired Kiss spent the winter in South Carolina recovering from a ligament problem, according to trainer Tom O'Keefe, who felt she needed her opener.

"It wasn't her type of race," said O'Keefe. "The pace was slow. She fired but got a little leg-weary, which horses do in their first try over this racetrack. That should set her up," he said, for Thursday's race.



1. Win CityB. Tiller3-1

Overcame trouble to win the Marine Stakes and looks like a genuine stayer.

2. DancethruthedawnM. Frostad 7-2

Sister to 2000 Plate winner Scatter the Gold could be tough in the Oaks and the Plate.

3. Millennium AllstarS. Leslie5-1

Gave up a big lead in the Queenston Stakes and doesn't have that killer instinct yet.

4. Highland LegacyS. Owens6-1

2000 champion 2yo was a distant third in the Queenston in his only start this year.

5. Lucky ScarabM. Frostad8-1

Maiden has a good foundation and could plod along for a piece of the Plate purse.

6. PoeticallyR. Attfield8-1

Last year's champion 2yo filly missed some training prior to her so-so seasonal bow.

7. Legal HeirS. Owens10-1

Won his first route start on the lead and may have found his niche going long.

8. Brushing BullyT. Attard15-1

2000 Display Stakes winner struggled vs. older foes in his lone start this year.

9. Penny PerfectM. Frostad20-1

Late-blooming Alydeed filly was fourth in the Selene Stakes after a rough trip.

10. Won StrikeM. Casse20-1

Wintered well at the Fair Grounds and was recently supplemented to the Plate for $15,000.

- Odds and comments by Ron Gierkink