07/04/2013 10:48AM

Woodbine: Are You Kidding Me aims for first win of year in Charlie Barley

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Tom Keyser
Are You Kidding Me is winless in four starts this year heading into Saturday's Charlie Barley Stakes and most recently was sixth in the Penn Mile.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Are You Kidding Me hooked some of the top 3-year-old turf milers on the continent when finishing sixth in the $500,000 Penn Mile Stakes last time out. On Saturday, Are You Kidding Me looms as the horse to beat here when he faces 10 rivals in the $125,000 Charlie Barley Stakes, an open stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.

“He’s doing really well,” trainer Roger Attfield said. “He’s just ready to get rocking and rolling now.”

Are You Kidding Me was an unlucky second here in last year’s Grade 2 Summer Stakes at a mile on yielding turf. After finishing a close fifth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity on Keeneland’s Polytrack, Are You Kidding Me just missed as the runner-up in an open, one-mile turf allowance at Tampa Day Downs.

A failed experiment on dirt in Gulfstream Park’s Florida Derby was followed by a third-place finish in a second-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on grass at Keeneland.

Then came the trip to Penn National, where Are You Kidding Me fell back early and closed into an accelerating pace to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths.

“I was a little confused,” Attfield said. “I couldn’t quite work out why he lost ground on the turn.”

Todd Kabel gets the call on Are You Kidding Me.

Gentleman’s Kitten, trained by Wayne Catalano for the productive owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, comes in from Kentucky off two straight wins on turf. After finishing last in his debut at five furlongs on turf at Arlington Park last year, Gentleman’s Kitten won his maiden at one mile at Keeneland on Oct. 10 when wearing blinkers for the first time.

Returning to action in May, Gentleman’s Kitten again pressed the pace en route to a half-length victory in a first-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

Jesse Campbell picks up the mount on Gentleman’s Kitten.

Kid Dreams, trying Woodbine’s turf course after shipping in from California to finish fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, is another interesting prospect. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Kid Dreams ran well to be the runner-up in May when making his turf debut at Betfair Hollywood Park in a first-level allowance race at a mile. Luis Contreras will ride Kid Dreams.

Clearly Now has been knocking heads with the top 3-year-old sprinters south of the border, winning Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Swale before finishing a close second in Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Bay Shore and third in Belmont’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens.

All three races were contested at seven furlongs, and Clearly Now will try grass for the first time in the Charlie Barley for trainer Brian Lynch and jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.

Dan the Tin Man, the winner of Woodbine’s six-furlong Woodstock Stakes and the six-furlong Tom Ridge Stakes at Presque Isle Downs in his two outings this year, will be making his first start on turf for trainer Ricky Griffith.

Golden Sabre, a promising but lightly raced colt trained by Malcolm Pierce, was an impressive graduate in a maiden race at 1 1/16 miles on turf last out and could make his presence felt in his stakes debut.

◗ All Woodbine Entertainment Group locations and HorsePlayer Interactive will offer advance wagering on Sunday’s Queen’s Plate card Saturday. The pools will open at approximately 3 p.m. Eastern, with the exceptions of pick-three and pick-four pools, which will open following the conclusion of Saturday’s live card.