06/28/2011 2:44PM

Woodbine: Court of the Realm's goal is the Woodbine Mile

Michael Burns
Court of the Realm scored his fifth straight win in Saturday's Grade 2 King Edward Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Court of the Realm is the real deal.

Despite coming into last Saturday’s Grade  2, $269,200 King Edward on a four-race win streak, Court of the Realm was sent off at 12-1 while making his stakes debut in the one-mile turf race over “good” going.

But when all was said and run, Court of the Realm had prevailed by half-length under regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva while maintaining the promise of better things to come.

“I had a lot of confidence, but you never know when you try the big horses,” said Peter Berringer, who trains the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt for Ming Fong, Sandra Albus, and his mother, Joan Berringer.

“It was a real competitive field, and he did it in stride. The turf was still a little bit soft, and I’m still not certain he handled that as well as he would a firm turf.”

Berringer, at age 50, has been training for some 25 years and while he has had other stakes winners he rates Court of the Realm as his best horse to date.

“He’s still hopefully on the upswing,” said Berringer. “He seems to be getting better and better.”

The immediate plan calls for Court of the Realm to be nominated to both the Grade 2 Nijinsky, a $300,000 race over 1 1/8 miles of turf here July 24, and the Grade 3 Seagram Cup, a $150,000 race over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack here Aug. 6.

The Grade 2 Play the King, a $200,000 race over seven furlongs of turf here Aug. 28, is a another possibility in a campaign which is being geared toward one indisputable goal.

“We’re looking to the Woodbine Mile,” said Berringer.

“At this point it’s just up to the horse. We’ve just got to keep him happy, keep him fit.”

The Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, with a purse of $1 million, will be run on the turf course on Sept. 18.

Berringer had no runners here Sunday and was not among the spectators for the Queen’s Plate.

Instead, he had traveled north to Meaford , Ont., with his partner Natalie McMullen, who is the groom of Court of the Realm and rides in barrel-racing events when her schedule so allows.

“I’m the groom, and she’s the rider and the trainer,” said Berringer.

Signature Red will point to Play the King

Signature Red got back to what he does best, sprinting on turf, and prevailed by a nose in Sunday’s Grade 2, $201,200 Highlander Stakes.

Luis Contreras was aboard Signature Red in the Highlander, a six-furlong race which Signature Red also won for trainer Sid Attard and owner Howard Walton in 2010.

“Last year he won the prep, and came back and won this race,” said Attarad. “He’s definitely a turf horse but he runs good on Poly, too.”

Signature Red, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old horse, has started twice on the main track here this spring, finishing second in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier and third in the seven-furlong Vigil.

Although he was entered in the Connaught Cup, a seven-furlong turf race here May 29, Signature Red was one of four scratches in that race, which went with a field of four.

“It was too soft for him; I knew he wouldn’t like it,” said Attard.

While the Play the King is a long-term goal, Attard will be searching for an interim spot for Signature Red.

“That’s a long way away,” said Attard.

Musketier overcomes slow pace in Singspiel

Musketier, foiled by a slow pace in the 1  1/2-mile Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs in his last start May 28, didn’t have much more speed to run at here last Sunday but still got a winning trip in the Grade 3 Singspiel over the same distance.

Trained by Roger Attfield for owner Stella Perdomo, the 9-year-old Musketier was the senior member of the seven-horse field in the $151,200 Singspiel but got home by a neck under rider John Velazquez

“Johnny gave him a great ride,” said Attfield. “He likes to run covered up, and he had to move him earlier than he wanted to.

“Then he took a hold of him, and waited until that other horse came up to him.”

Musketier was capturing the Singspiel for the second straight year and was Attfield’s fourth winner in seven runnings of the stakes.

Spice Route, the 7-year-old gelding who won last year’s Singspiel, has not seen action since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles of turf here last Sept.  19.

“He’s been turned out, at Kinghaven Farm,” said Attfield. “He’s jogging now. Hopefully, I’ll get him back here in the fall.”

In the meantime, Musketier should be fighting his next battle on the home front.

“I’ll give him a reasonable amount of time, and keep him for the races here,” said Attfield.

Madrid hopes to pick up local mounts

Sebastian Madrid, currently based at Presque Isle Downs, will be shifting his tack to Ontario with regularity when the situation arises.

Madrid, 44, has engaged agent Ron Burke, who also books mounts for journeyman Richard Dos Ramos.

“Right now, he’ll only be able to ride for American and foreign owners,” said Burke, with reference to Madrid’s immigration status.

Madrid’s association with locally-based trainer Brian Lynch played a role in his decision to ride here.

“I’ve been good with Brian before,” said Madrid, “and I like it here.”

Madrid has had three mounts at the meeting, including a winner with Bless My Soldier for trainer Wesley Ward. He also piloted Liquid Fire to victory for Ward in his only try at Fort Erie.

His 1,715 career wins, including 91 stakes, were highlighted by a victory aboard Gourmet Dinner in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot last December.

* Veteran jockey agent Al Raymond recently took on David Garcia as a second journeyman client. Raymond also books mounts for apprentice Caroline Duquet.

* Andrew Beyer will be on hand here Saturday for a one-hour seminar beginning at 11  a.m. on the third floor of the grandstand.

The first 250 people in attendance will receive a free copy of “Beyer on Speed.”

Beyer also will be appearing on Woodbine’s simulcast show for a handicapping session with host Jeff Bratt and will be making one of the race presentations.