06/22/2012 3:43PM

Woodbine: Attfield brings strong pair to Singspiel

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Barbara D. Livingston
Musketier will be seeking for his third victory in the Grade 3 Singspiel on Sunday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Roger Attfield should send out the winner of Sunday’s Grade 3 Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

But just who that winner would be remains a burning question, with both Musketier and Simmard coming in with adequate credentials to take home the winner’s share of the $150,000 stakes.

Musketier, a 10-year-old horse who races for Stella Perdomo, is perfect in two Singspiel appearances, having won the 2009 and 2011 editions. He also has won two editions of Keeneland’s Grade 2 Elkhorn and last fall’s Grade 2 W.L. McKnight at Calder at the 1 1/2-mile distance on turf.

Simmard, a 7-year-old gelding who had been owned by Attfield and partner Bill Werner before being sold recently to New York-based owner Francesco Antonio, had finished behind Musketier in their first five meetings before getting the upper hand in two encounters this year.

Musketier has not seen action since finishing fourth, 1 3/4 lengths behind third-place Simmard, in this year’s running of the Elkhorn.

[Watch Woodbine’s Queen’s Plate card live]

Simmard has since traveled back to Kentucky and captured the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap over 1 1/2 miles of turf at Churchill Downs on May 26, while Musketier was scratched from the June 2 Singspiel prep when the race was taken off the turf.

“Musketier has had a bigger turn of foot than Simmard,” Attfield said. “But he may be slowing down a little bit. He might not have quite that punch at the end.

“Simmard is a free-galloping horse. He hasn’t done as well on this course as on some of the tighter-turned courses. The pace makes a lot of difference on how he’s ridden.”

Both Musketier and Simmard will carry 125 pounds, with Ramon Dominguez picking up the mount on Musketier and Corey Nakatani riding Simmard.

Big Red Mike, winner of Singspiel prep at 1 1/2 miles, is the likely pacesetter.

Solitaire, who finished second in the 2010 Singspiel behind the Attfield-trained Spice Route, invades again from Saratoga for trainer Jim Bond.

Rounding out the field will be Celtic Conviction and Cognashene, the one-three finishers here in last year’s Breeders’ Stakes at the course and distance, and City Wolf, who is making his turf debut.