10/12/2011 2:12PM

Woodbine: Attfield has five chances to collect Grade 1 win this weekend

Keeneland/Photos by Z
Musketier, who has won three 1 1/2-mile turf stakes with John Velazquez aboard, will be reunited with the jockey for Sunday's Canadian International.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – With Simmard and Musketier set for the $1.5 million Canadian International and Perfect Shirl, Miss Keller, and perhaps Meking Melody heading for the $1 million E.P. Taylor, trainer Roger Attfield  looks to be in the best position to win one of those Grade 1’s for the home team.

The 1 1/2-mile Canadian International and the 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor for fillies and mares are two of the three Grade 1 turf stakes carded for Sunday’s program, along with the $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward.

On Wednesday, the main turf course was open for this Sunday’s stakes participants and all five Attfield runners breezed five furlongs around the dogs over the good going.

Musketier, with exercise rider Suzanne Lorimer, was clocked in 1:02.80 while working in company with Simmard, who was timed in 1:03.40.
“They had a pretty easy work,” said Attfield.

“I wouldn’t have minded seeing them work a bit stronger, but it was fine. That’s all they really need to do at this point.

Musketier, the senior member of the Canadian International field at age 9, has done some of his best running over 1 1/2 miles of grass with his four wins at the distance being back-to-back scores in the last two running of both Keeneland’s Grade 2 Elkhorn and Woodbine’s Grade 3 Singspiel.

In his last two starts, Musketier finished fifth of six here in the 1 1/8-mile Nijinsky and then last of five in the 1 1/4-mile Sky Classic.

Musketier also was slated to compete in the Northern Dancer but came down with a case of colic the day before entries were taken and had to be sent to a nearby veterinary clinic for treatment.

“I think he’s in good shape now,” said Attfield, who has recruited John Velazquez for the ride on Musketier. “Johnny knows him well.”

Velazquez has ridden Musketier to his three most recent 1 1/2-mile victories with their only losing partnership a third-place finish in last fall’s Sycamore at Keeneland.

Simmard finished second in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, beaten a neck in the course and distance prep for the Canadian International.

“It was a very good effort,” said Attfield. “I think he’s a better horse now than he’s been before. He’s doing great.”

Miss Keller, with Eurico Rosa Da Silva in the irons, was clocked in 1:01 while Perfect Shirl finished in 1:02 under Husbands.

“Miss Keller was very, very sharp,” said Attfield. “She just took off, and the other filly didn’t go chasing after her.”

Second in the E.P. Taylor last year, Miss Keller has failed to crack the top three in five outings this season and was fifth, beaten three lengths, when making her most recent start here in the Grade 2 Canadian over 1 1/8 miles of turf.

Perfect Shirl was a closing second in the Canadian, beaten a half-length by Never Retreat, who came back to capture the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland last Saturday.

Mekong Melody breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 while going in company with Oregon Lady.

Attfield planned to speak with Mekong Melody’s owner, David Egan, before making a final decision on her E.P. Taylor participation.

Final European arrives

Treasure Beach checked into Woodbine in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to round out the 20-horse European contingent for Sunday’s three turf stakes.

Quest for Peace was out for a taste of the turf course while his fellow Canadian International candidates Bronze Cannon, Mikhail Glinka, and Sarah Lynx took some light exercise on the Polytrack.

E.P. Taylor candidates Adventure Seeker, I’m A Dreamer, Kinky Afro and Sea of Heartbreak also stretched their legs on the main track.