05/13/2011 11:54AM

Woodbine: Keep an eye on Paul Attard's 3-year-olds


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Paul Attard has gotten off to a good start here at Woodbine this spring, clicking with three of the first 11 entrants he has started. Attard, 29, has some potentially exciting days on his horizon with a group of promising 3-year-olds in his barn among the 21 head he has stabled here.

Attard is the son of Sid Attard, who is perennially among the leading trainers here. He has been training since 2002 and will be looking for the third stakes win of his career when he sends out Anne’s Beauty for Sunday’s $150,000 La Lorgnette.

Waiting in the wings will be Kurogane, a candidate for the $1 million Queen’s Plate, and Niigon’s Touch, a filly who was an impressive winner of her debut and is nominated to the May 23 Lady Angela Stakes.

Anne’s Beauty, a Kentucky-bred who is owned by Rob Smithen, concluded her three-start campaign last year with back-to-back wins in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race and the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes.

After wintering in Ocala, Anne’s Beauty returned to Woodbine in late March and made her seasonal bow on April 24.

Facing older fillies and mares when competing under second-level allowance terms in that seven-furlong race, Anne’s Beauty pressed the early pace but evened out slightly through the closing stages to finish third, beaten two lengths.

“I didn’t want to run her against older horses, but she needed a race if she was going to go in the stake,” said Attard. “I thought she ran well; it was a good tightener.”

Anne’s Beauty breezed five furlongs in 1:02 here Monday, going in company under her regular rider David Clark, and will be trying two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16 mile La Lorgnette.

“It was a nice, easy workout,” said Attard. “We gave her a little company to track, and she went by him.

“I think she’ll get two turns, no problem. There’s other speed in the race, and she should settle. She was a little sharp out of the gate last time.”

Kurogane may go in Plate Trial

Kurogane and Niigon’s Touch both are Ontario-sired homebreds owned by Chiefswood Stable, a high-profile outfit which placed horses with Attard for the first time last summer.

Both Kurogane and Niigon’s Touch were sired by Niigon, who won the Queen’s Plate for Chiefswood and the outfit’s former trainer, Eric Coatrieux, in 2004.

Kurogane debuted here last Nov. 26, finishing third in a restricted allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

“I got him in October, and I knew that he’d run all day,” said Attard. “I wanted to get a race into him, to get him some experience. If I’d had another couple of weeks, he could have won it.”

Attard, married with an eight-month old daughter, was not going south for the winter but Chiefswood sent Kurogane to Payson Park with Ian Black, another of their trainers here.

Stopping over at Keeneland with other Black runners, Kurogane was entered in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on April 17 but did not make it to the post.

“He had a virus, and couldn’t run,” said Attard. “He had a little bit of a temperature; he was over it in a couple of days.”

Kurogane made his delayed seasonal bow here last Saturday and turned a number of heads in the process.

Recovering from an awkward start, Kurogane stalked the pace under Emma-Jayne Wilson and then rallied smartly on the inside to score by four lengths.

“Coming up the rail like that was good experience for him,” said Attard. “He finished up well, and galloped out well.”

Kurogane could have allowance options but also will be nominated to the June 5 Plate Trial, the 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds which is the major local stepping-stone to the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate.

The $1 million Queen’s Plate will be run on June 26.

“I think he’ll get the distance,” said Attard. “One of the things I like about him as a router is that he doesn’t have the gradual type of closing move. He has a quick turn of foot.”

Lady Angela a possibility for Niigon’s Touch

Niigon’s Touch, who wintered at Palm Beach Downs, came in to Attard last November but was not scheduled to start as a 2-year-old.

“We brought her in for some experience,” said Attard. “She was very green, but we knew she had some talent. That’s why we sent her to Florida.

“I went down to see her work a couple of times, and every work was better and better.”

Making her first start here on April 30 in a restricted maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs, Niigon’s Touch was out smartly to press the pace from her outside post in the field of 12 and then took charge to score by 3 1/4 lengths under Tyler Pizarro.

And while Niigon’s Touch is a candidate for the $125,000 Lady Angela, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, Attard is keeping his options open.

“I think she’ll be a nice filly,” he said, “and I don’t want to run her against tough company too soon,”

Check Your Soul will bypass Marine in favor of Plate Trial

Check Your Soul, trained by Roger Attfield, breezed four furlongs in 49 seconds here Friday under jockey Patrick Husbands.

“He went a half, on his own, just to keep him interested,” said Attfield.

Check Your Soul, who won for the first time when making his third career in the 1 1/16-mile Wando here May 1, is nominated to Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Marine but is scheduled to make his next start in the Plate Trial.

Stormy Rush, a Kentucky-bred trained by Attfield, also was nominated to the $150,000 Marine, which is an open race for 3-year-olds.

“I wanted to run him there but he had a little problem with is epiglottis, and I’m going to miss this one.”

Sand Cove unlikely to run in New Providence

Sand Cove, who was Canada’s champion older male of 2010, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 here Friday while accompanied by stakes-winning Attfield stablemates Mekong Melody and Hollinger.

“They just sat together,” said Attfield. “It was a nice work for everybody.”

Sand Cove is nominated to next Sunday’s $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward, but is not considered a probable starter.

Hollinger is heading for the Grade 2, $150,000 Connaught Cup, a seven-furlong race for 4-year-olds and upward here May 29 which is the first scheduled turf stakes of the meeting.

Queen's Plate prospect entered at Churchill

Red Ace, a Queen’s Plate nominee who is based at Churchill Downs with trainer Steve Margolis, is entered in Sunday’s second race at the Louisville oval.

Owned by John Fort’s Peachtree Stable, Red Ace was unraced at 2 but was an impressive winner of his second career start at the Fair Grounds going six furlongs this March 3.

“All along, when John sent him to me, we had the Queen’s Plate in mind,” said Margolis.

“We know the horse has quality to him; it’s just a question whether he can get the distance. When we stretched him out last time he was the only speed, he was on the rail, and just kind of broke on top. Shawn (jockey Bridgmohan) didn’t send him; he inherited the lead.”

Red Ace finished second at Keeneland at 1 1/16 miles in that last start on April 16 and will be trying the same distance and first-level allowance company again on Sunday.

“We’re going to try to get him to rate a little more,” said Margolis.