09/28/2011 12:29PM

Woodbine: Carroll has trio of stakes contenders for weekend races


Trainer Josie Carroll plans to be represented in three of the four stakes here at Woodbine this weekend with Notacloudinthesky entered in Saturday’s $125,000 Victorian Queen, Valli With a Vow in the same afternoon’s Avowal, and James Street on target for Sunday’s $150,000 Durham Cup.

Notacloudinthesky looms as the probable favorite in the field of seven for the Victorian Queen, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

“She had a tough trip last time,” said Carroll, who had watched Notacloudinthesky finished fourth as the odds-on favorite in the 6 1/2-furlong Muskoka, a yearling sales stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Valli With A Vow will have 10 rivals in the Avowal, a seven-furlong open overnight stakes on turf for fillies and mares.

The Flaming Page, an overnight stakes run here last Sunday, was taken off the turf due to the soggy condition of the course and the same possibility exists for the Avowal.

“I think she’ll run on either surface,” said Carroll. “I think she likes the distance.”

Valli With a Vow, a 5-year-old, is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Seaway, a seven-furlong Polytrack race won by fellow Avowal starter Atlantic Hurricane.

The 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup will be James Street’s second start for Carroll. The 4-year-old colt was moved into her barn this summer and won the Grade 3 Seagram Cup over 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 6.

“He’s a lovely horse,” said Carroll. “I badly wanted to run him in between, but there was no race for him. He’s had a long time between races.”

Indian Evening, King of England have options

Looking farther down the road, Carroll has nominated both Indian Evening and King of England to the Grey here Oct. 9.

The Grey, a 1 1/16-mile race, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $200,000.

Indian Evening, a Kentucky-bred owned by Vinery Stable, is coming off an impressive win here in the Sept. 11 Swynford over seven furlongs.

“He could run here in the Grey but the Futurity at Keeneland also a possibility,” said Carroll, after watching Indian Evening breeze six furlongs in 1:13.60 here Wednesday under regular rider Tyler Pizarro.

The Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity, also at 1 1/16 miles, is a Grade 1, $400,000 race on Oct. 8 which is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In series.

King of England, a smart maiden winner over a mile and 70 yards in his second career start here Sept. 18, also could opt to pass on the Grey.

“He’s Canadian-bred so he could run in the Cup and Saucer,” said Carroll, with reference to that $250,000 turf race at 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 15.

The Cup and Saucer is the first of two major races for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here this fall with the $250,000 Coronation Futurity at 1 1/8 miles on the main track being run on Nov. 6.

Musketier healthy, back to work

Musketier, hospitalized with colic on the evening before he was scheduled to be entered in the Sept. 18 Northern Dancer, breezed four furlongs in 47.60 seconds here Wednesday morning under exercise rider Suzanne Lorimer.

“They didn’t have to operate, but he was in the clinic for about a week,” said trainer Roger Attfield.

Musketier worked in company with Simmard, who finished in the same time under regular rider Patrick Husbands.

Simmard is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, a 1 1/2-mile turf race which is the major local prep for the Grade 1 Canadian International.

The Oct. 16 Canadian International, which is run over the same distance and surface, offers a purse of $1.5 million.

Attfield has two probables for E.P. Taylor

Attfield also sent out Perfect Shirl, Miss Keller, and Mekong Melody to breeze in company here Wednesday with the three being clocked in 47.00 seconds.

Perfect Shirl is coming off a strong second-place finish in the Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares which is the major local prep for the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes.

Miss Keller finished fifth in the Canadian but was beaten just three lengths while Mekong Melody ended a disappointing 12th.

The E.P. Taylor, which also will be run here Oct. 16, is a 1 1/4-mile turf race worth $1 million.

“Perfect Shirl and Miss Keller will be heading there,” said Attfield. “Mekong Melody, I’m not sure.”

◗ Jim Mazur will be on hand here Saturday for “The Road to the Breeders’ Cup”, a one-hour handicapping seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand. Attendees will receive a free copy of “Crushing the Cup 2011.”