10/10/2011 2:30PM

Woodbine: Canadian International Day fields up in the air

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Rahystrada is currently the only U.S. shipper set to run in the Canadian International.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The fields for Woodbine’s three Grade 1 turf stakes on Sunday remained in flux as of Monday morning with a total of 17 candidates for the $1.5 million Canadian International, 14 for the $1 million E.P. Taylor, and 16 for the $500,000 Nearctic.

While the Woodbine race office originally said that the field for the 1 1/2-mile Canadian International would be limited to 16, that decision was revisited and it was decided that up to 18 could start. Up to 18 fillies and mares can be accommodated for the 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor but the field for the six-furlong Nearctic will be limited to 14, with preference based first on weights and then on lifetime earnings.

Europeans could dominate the Canadian International, with Grade 1 winners Arctic Cosmos, Joshua Tree, and Redwood being confirmed participants and trainer Aidan O’Brien planning to start either St Nicholas Abbey or Treasure Beach. Bronze Cannon, Mikhail Glinka, Mores Wells, Quest for Peace, and the filly Sarah Lynx also are expected to make the transatlantic crossing.

Winchester, based in New York, is on the bubble, with the only American shipper currently scheduled to participate being Rahystrada.

Simmard, runner-up in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles on turf in his last start, and his Roger Attfield-trained stablemate Musketier head the six-strong local contingent for the International.

Several members of the home team had their final major tune-ups for the Canadian International over the holiday weekend.

Laureate Conductor, a close fourth in the Northern Dancer, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Monday with jockey Luis Contreras in the irons.
“He finished up good,” said Mike DePaulo, who trains Laureate Conductor for Danny Dion’s Bear Stable.

Celtic Conviction worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 on the Polytrack last Saturday, while Kara’s Orientation breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds on the dirt training track.

Mike Doyle trains Celtic Conviction, who missed by a nose over 1 1/2 miles on soft turf as the runner-up in the Breeders’ Stakes for Canadian-breds.

Kara’s Orientation, conditioned by Steven Chircop, upset the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles on good turf here this summer.

Stormy Lord, winner of the PTHA Presidents Cup over 1 1/8 miles of yielding turf at Parx Racing last time out, breezed on the main turf course in 1:05.40, a clocking that was not fast enough to make the work tab.

“The dogs were way out,” said trainer Ian Black. “It was fine.”

Hailstone, who was under consideration for the Canadian International, will not be participating. Mark Casse, who trains Hailstone, said the size of the field added to the fact that Hailstone is entered in the November sale at Keeneland prompted the change of plans.

Euros to overrun E.P. Taylor

The Europeans also will be front and center in the E.P. Taylor with Sea of Heartbreak, winner of the Group 2 Prix de Royalieu over about 1 9/16 miles on firm turf at Longchamp last time out, heading a list of up to nine shippers.

Adventure Seeker, Dream Peace, I’m A Dreamer, Kinky Afro, Laughing, Mahbooba, and Strawberrydaiquiri all are scheduled to cross the pond and Look At Me is a possibility.

Dyna Waltz, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, is the only American runner currently under consideration.

Locally based Mekong Melody, Miss Keller, and Perfect Shirl, all trained here by Roger Attfield, all are scheduled to run.

Magic Broomstick, based here with trainer Mark Frostad, is on the bubble.

◗ An already murky Nearctic picture became murkier when the Mt. Sassfras, a seven-furlong overnight stakes for Ontario foals scheduled for Wednesday evening, failed to fill.

Arctic Fern and Gypsy Ring were entered there and could be redirected to the Nearctic if the Mt. Sassafras, which will be offered again on Sunday, doesn’t make the five-horse minimum.