05/05/2011 1:30PM

Woodbine: Black N Beauty will be running late in Queenston Stakes

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Dale Romans will saddle Shackleford in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, so he has a valid excuse for not being at Woodbine when his diminutive charge Black N Beauty competes in the $150,000 Queenston Stakes.

The seven-furlong Queenston is an important prep for the $1 million Queen’s Plate on June 26. It has lured four other Ontario-bred 3-year-olds, including Oh Canada and Bear’s Chill.

Black N Beauty won his maiden last fall at Churchill before spending the winter at Gulfstream, where he led throughout a one-mile allowance in January. He subsequently ran fifth behind Dialed In in the Grade 3 Holy Bull and was pulled up in the Grade 2 Hutcheson.

Black N Beauty rebounded here April 16 in the six-furlong Woodstock Stakes, rallying wide from off a quick pace to finish a close second.

“He ran big up there on the Polytrack,” Romans said. “I expect him to improve with a trip over the track. I never really did get a good explanation for the poor performance at Gulfstream.”

Romans said Black N Beauty might be better suited to seven furlongs than six furlongs.

“He’s a horse who likes to settle and come running,” Romans said. “We’re hoping that [he’ll go longer], so that he can get to the Queen’s Plate.”

Black N Beauty breezed a half-mile in 48.80 seconds on the Polytrack here May 1.

“I saw it on tape,” Romans said. “It looked pretty good to me.”

Oh Canada closed to win the Woodstock following a 4 1/2-month layoff, much to the delight of trainer Bob Tiller, who said that the gelding has trained encouragingly since.

“I’m happy with my horse,” Tiller said. “He’s going into it in great shape. I’ve got him as ready as I can get him. We’re hoping to run him long, and this is another step.”

Oh Canada earned a 79 Beyer Speed Figure in the Woodstock, which wasn’t close to the 92 Beyer that Bear’s Chill got the next day when he won a seven-furlong allowance after setting a moderate pace with the wind at his back.

“It looks like Bear’s Chill has all the speed,” Tiller said. “He’s going to have things his own way.”

Completing the field are Say No More, who captured a seven-furlong allowance by five lengths with an 85 Beyer in his season opener, and Sardonicus, who wound up third behind Bear’s Chill on April 17.