06/03/2011 12:50PM

Woodbine: Distance a question for Bear's Chill in Plate Trial

Michael Burns
Bear’s Chill, winner of the seven-furlong Queenston on May 7, will try to stretch his speed to 1 1/8 miles in Sunday’s Plate Trial.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – There are many questions to be answered in Sunday’s $150,000 Plate Trial Stakes, a key prep for the June 26 Queen’s Plate, but perhaps the most important ones involve two of the favorites: Can the speedy Bear’s Chill stay the nine-furlong distance, and will the lightly raced Check Your Soul continue to improve?

Bear’s Chill, a huge son of Artie Schiller, graduated second time out traveling seven furlongs Dec. 4. Trainer Reade Baker ran him once over the winter, which was a flat fourth-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer on the grass at Gulfstream.

Bear’s Chill ran similar spectacular races over seven furlongs in each of his two most recent outings, in a first-level allowance and the Queenston Stakes. On both occasions, he set a slow opening quarter and then picked up the pace before coasting home on top by a comfortable margin. He earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure in the allowance and a 97 Beyer in the Queenston, numbers that make him the fastest member of this crop of Canadian-breds.

Baker said he is uncertain about Bear’s Chill’s chances of staying the Trial distance.

“I just don’t know,” Baker said. “His breeding says he’ll go that far, and he’s certainly built like a horse that will go that far, but none of those things are guarantees.”

Baker said Bear’s Chill has retained his sharpness since the May 7 Queenston.

“He had a quick breeze and then we slowed him up a little the other day,” Baker said. “He’s feeling great.”

Check Your Soul graduated second time out, in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special on the grass April 15 at Keeneland. He ran greenly during a very wide trip in his first Polytrack try here May 1 in the Marine Stakes, but scored rather easily with just a 74 Beyer.

Trainer Roger Attfield said he was content with Check Your Soul’s performance in the 1 1/16-mile Marine.

“I don’t think it was a stellar field, but he did it very nicely,” Attfield said. “He got a little bit warm in the post parade, and we’ve been working on that. He’s gotten better and better. He worked nicely [May 27]. Everything’s on target. The farther, the better, for him.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher entered a promising maiden, Imhotep, and the stakes-winning sprinter Sensational Slam.

Bowman’s Causeway, who was on the Triple Crown trail before coming up empty in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, is making his first start for trainer Chad Brown following a layoff.