06/23/2011 1:12PM

Woodbine: Mekong Melody switches to Polytrack for Trillium Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – A pair of $100,000 overnight stakes, the Trillium and the Charlie Barley, will be part of the supporting cast on Saturday’s Woodbine program.

The Trillium, a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares, was added to fill a gap left for the division when the Hill ‘n’ Dale Stakes was dropped this year.

The response has been encouraging. Even though it only has a field of six, the Trillium attracted the talented local performers Mekong Melody and Milwaukee Appeal and shippers Upperline and Maristar.

Mekong Melody, runner-up to stablemate Miss Keller in the voting for Canada’s champion turf female last season, will try Polytrack as Attfield attempts to find varying spots for his handful of stakes-calibre older females.

“She can run on the Poly,” said Attfield, noting that Mekong Melody had won an off-the-turf race at 1 1/8 miles while competing under second-level allowance terms here in the summer of 2009.

Mekong Melody has started just once this season, finishing a disappointing eighth in the Grade 2 Nassau over one mile of yielding turf here June 4.

“Her last race was confusing to me,” said Attfield. “I just think she needs another race, before I start looking to go out of town or whatever.”

Mekong Melody tuned up for the Trillium here Wednesday with a four-furlong breeze in 47.80 seconds on the main track. Patrick Husbands was aboard for the drill and retains the mount.

Milwaukee Appeal, Canada’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2009, will be making her first start for trainer Ralph Biamonte after being conditioned by Scott Fairlie through her first 24 career outings.

Eurico Rosa da Silva, who was aboard when Milwaukee Appeal breezed five furlongs on the training track in 1:01 last Sunday, has picked up the mount.

◗ The Charlie Barley, at one mile on the turf, is for 3-year-olds and attracted a field of eight, including shippers Walkers Landing and Nine O Wonderful.

Walker’s Landing, based at Saratoga with trainer Chad Brown, shipped in for the May  21 Marine and finished second behind leading Queen’s Plate contender Queen’splatekitten at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Husbands returns aboard Walker’s Landing, who had made his first four career starts on turf, winning a maiden race at Tampa and a first-level allowance at Gulfstream, both over the Charlie Barley’s one-mile distance.

Nine O Wonderful, based at Saratoga with trainer Jim Bond, won his maiden over seven furlongs of turf at Belmont last time out.

Heading the local troops are Silverleo, who finished fourth when making his seasonal bow in the Marine, and Celtic Conviction, winner of the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of turf here last fall and a restricted allowance winner in his 2011 bow over the same distance and surface.

Greg De Gannes, who trains Silverleo, is expecting the colt to move forward from his Marine performance.

“I’d had him all cranked up for the Wando, and he was scratched on post parade, so I had to kind of start over,” said De Gannes.

“He couldn’t be going into this any better. I’m taking the blinkers off him, and getting back to the turf helps.

Silverleo won twice on the turf here last year, including the one-mile allowance prep for the Summer Stakes.