06/30/2011 11:54AM

Woodbine: Niigon's Touch tests deeper water in Bison City Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Is Niigon’s Touch ready for the bright lights of the Bison City?

The Bison City, of course, is Buffalo and the stakes of that name was more logically situated at Fort Erie, where it was run from 1954 through 1976 and from 1980 through 2006.

Be that as it may, the $250,000 Bison City will be run here at Woodbine on Sunday, and Niigon’s Touch will be looking to score her third victory in as many career starts while trying stakes company for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

“We’re going to give it a shot,” said Paul Attard, who trains the Ontario-sired homebred Niigon’s Touch for owners Bob and Mark Krembil and sent her out to win a restricted maiden race at six furlongs and a restricted first-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles in her two appearances this spring.

“It a great chance to run for $250,000. She’s done everything we’ve asked her to do so far, and she hasn’t really been tested yet.”

The prospect of a small field, which was realized when the Bison City drew six entrants, plus the decision to run Woodbine Oaks winner Inglorious in the Queen’s Plate also factored into the decision to send Niigon’s Touch into Sunday’s feature.

“If she happens to run real good, that’s terrific,” Attard said. “If not, an Ontario-sired nonwinners of three will come along.”

Tyler Pizarro, aboard for Niigon’s Touch’s two starts, was in the irons when she breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 here last Sunday in her final Bison City tune-up.

“She worked very well,” Attard said. “She was just cruising.”

Kurogane waiting for turf allowance

Kurogane, also owned and bred by the Krembils and trained by Attard, had been tabbed as a Queen’s Plate candidate following his impressive maiden victory in a 1 1/16-mile restricted allowance race here June 1.

Tentative plans of going to the Queen’s Plate were scuttled, however, after Kurogane finished an indifferent fifth in a restricted first-level allowance race at 1 1/8 miles here June 1.

Attard had the option of running Kurogane in a restricted first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles here Sunday or waiting until July 8 for a restricted allowance race over 1 1/4 miles of turf.

In the end, the decision was made to await the turf allowance.

“We might entertain the idea of the Breeders’,” said Attard, with reference to the 1 1/2-mile turf race here Aug. 7 that is worth $500,000 and will be the last leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

“We want to see a good race before we go in tough company.”

Pair of Attards in Bison City

Paul will not be the only Attard participating in the Bison City as one of his uncles, Tino Attard, has entered American Placed.

Tino, the older brother of Paul’s father, Sid, had spotted American Placed at Gulfstream Park when both were campaigning there this winter.

“I just saw the horse and liked her,” said Tino Attard, who continued to keep tabs on American Placed when the horse returned to his Woodbine base.

When American Placed was entered for a $32,000 claiming price in a seven-furlong maiden race here May 21, Attard was ready with a claim slip on behalf of owner Lawrence Cordes.

American Placed was a 1 1/2-length winner that day and doubled up less than two weeks later when entered for $60,000 in another seven-furlong race June 3.

“We decided to make her eligible for a couple of stakes, and maybe take a shot,” Attard said.

With a short field looming for the Bison City, Attard had found the spot for American Placed’s stakes debut.

“The owner said he’d be happy even if she finished third,” said Attard, who got the field size he was seeking when six horses were entered for the Bison City here Thursday.

Spooky Kitten, runner-up to Inglorious in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 5, heads a field of six entered for the Bison City.

Also returning from the Woodbine Oaks are Marketing Mix, the third-place finisher, and Bear It’s Time, who ended sixth.

Pleasantfriday, coming off her maiden win at 1 1/16 miles, joins Niigon’s Touch and American Placed to complete the lineup.

Busy weekend for Silvera

It will be a busy stakes weekend for trainer Laurie Silvera, who had Ariana D in Friday’s Sweet Briar Too and has Critical Thinking entered in Saturday’s $150,00 Achievement and He’s Etain set for Sunday’s $150,000 Clarendon.

The Achievement is a six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds, and the Clarendon is a 5 1/2-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds.

Critical Thinking, an Ontario-sired son of the hot stallion Old Forester, will be making his second career start in the Achievement.

In his debut, which came in a restricted maiden race at six furlongs here June 17, Critical Thinking stalked the pace before taking charge en route to a 1 1/2-length victory under rider Emile Ramsammy.

“He broke his maiden, as far as I was concerned, in good enough style to take a shot at the Achievement,” said Silvera, who also owns Critical Thinking.

“I actually thought he was a nice horse, and he hasn’t done anything to change my opinion.”

He’s Etain, who races for the Love 2 Win Stable of John and Marilyn Hillier, also has raced just once and was beaten 6 1/4 lengths as the fourth-place finisher behind Jenna’s Wabbit, who also is Clarendon-bound.

“He was very green,” Silvera said. “I think he’ll make considerable improvement, so we’re taking a shot at the Clarendon.”

Retired DRF worker Slauko dies at 69

Eugeniusz (John) Slauko, a longtime employee of Daily Racing Form , died at age 69 on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Oshawa Funeral Home, 847 King St. West, in Oshawa, Ontario, with the funeral service immediately following at 1 p.m. in the chapel.

Slauko joined Daily Racing Form as a statistical clerk and spent more than 40 years in the Toronto office before retiring in 2006. He was the head of the statistical department for some 30 years, and his duties included compiling the graded handicaps for racetracks across Canada on a daily basis.

His survivors include his wife, Dena; daughters Martha and Ann; his younger brother Ed, a longtime DRF statistical department employee who also retired in 2006; and an older sister, Nina, who worked for DRF in the teletype room.