11/04/2011 1:30PM

Woodbine: Cardella looking for encore performance


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer John Cardella has silenced the skeptics before, when his $40,000 claim Bompago went on to win the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate here in 1983.

On Sunday, Cardella will be looking to transform another former claimer into a major stakes winner when Solo Player starts in the $250,000 Coronation Futurity at 1 1/8 miles.

“People will say, ‘Can he go a mile and an eighth?’ ” said Cardella, who has been training since 1964 and is still going strong at age 80 with a 12-horse outfit.

“I don’t know, but they said Bompago wouldn’t go a mile and an eighth when he won the Plate Trial by five lengths.

Solo Player was bred by Jim Sabiston, who was looking to sell and mentioned the fact to Cardella.

“He was on John McInerney’s farm, and I went up to have a look,” said Cardella. “I kind of liked him, and I bought him. I ended up being partners with Sabiston.”

Solo Player came in to the racetrack this spring and made his first start in a maiden claimer at 4 1/2 furlongs.

“He was training nice, and I didn’t give a lot of money for him, so I ran him for $40,000,” said Cardella. “He ran a big race, and finished second.”

Solo Player then moved into the straight maiden ranks, finishing third over five furlongs on Polytrack and then ninth over six furlongs of turf.

The gelding then returned to the main track at the $40,000 level to graduate smartly over five furlongs.

In his next and most recent outing, Solo Player was a sharp winner of a first-level allowance race at six furlongs.

“After he won the allowance race, he took a new lease on life,” said Cardella.

“He’s been getting better every time and does everything right. He’s a very nice horse to be around”

Cardella, with an eye toward the Coronation Futurity, sent out Solo Player for a six-furlong breeze on the dirt training track in 1:11.60 here Oct. 23.

“I got him going out in 1:24,” said Cardella. “Tyler Pizarro was up in there, and he was very impressed. He said, ‘This horse can run.’ “

DePaulo seeking breakthrough

Trainer Mike DePaulo has been represented in five previous editions of the Coronation Futurity.

Lorries Mane Man, in 1995; Festive Knight, 1998; Shillelagh Slew, 2005; Deputiformer, 2007; and Khabibulin, 2008. All were saddled by DePaulo and all finished third in the 1 1/8 mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

“I’ve been all around it, but it’s been a race I can’t win,” said DePaulo, who will be looking to upset Sunday’s running of the Coronation Futurity with a maiden, Campitello.

Owned by Frank Romano, Campitello was purchased for $60,000 at last year’s select yearling sale and debuted with a third-place finish over a mile and 70 yards here Sept. 18.

Four weeks later, Campitello came back in the Cup and Saucer and finished fourth in that 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds run over a yielding turf course.

“I just think he’s a two-turn horse,” said DePaulo, who is enjoying a banner year spearheaded by the likes of Pender Harbour and Kitty’s Got Class.

“In the Cup and Saucer the rail was in the four path, which makes it a bit like a sprint, and it didn’t suit him at all.

“I think there should be some speed in this race, and hopefully we can run them down.”

‘Rocky’ shows promise

DePaulo and Romano have another promising Canadian-bred 2-year-old in Rocky Romano, who finished a troubled second in his debut at seven furlongs here Oct. 23.

Purchased at Keeneland last November for $56,000, Rocky Romano also was nominated to the Coronation Futurity but will not be coming back on two weeks’ notice.

“It looks like he’s going to be a nice horse,” said DePaulo. “He didn’t break the other day, and the jock lost his irons.

“I’ll put him in a two-turn maiden race, and see where we sit with him.”

Horse Society offering 185

Catalogues are now available for the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s winter mixed sale, which will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, in the Woodbine sales pavilion.

A total of 185 entries consisting of horses of racing age, yearlings, weanlings, broodmares, and stallion seasons and shares have been cataloged to date.

Horses will be available for inspection from Friday, Nov. 25, at 9 a.m. through to sale time.

The sale will be available for live viewing at cthsont.com. An added feature will be the post-sale program which offers prospective buyers a chance to bid on horses whose reserve bids were not attained.