09/10/2012 3:10PM

Woodbine notes: Attfield barn fully loaded for huge day

Tom Keyser
Hollinger will take another shot at the Woodbine Mile after finishing eighth last year.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The big guns will be out in full force here Sunday with the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, Grade 1 Northern Dancer, Grade 2 Canadian, and listed Ontario Derby all on tap.

And the one trainer with bullets for all four stakes is Roger Attfield, with Hollinger set for the $1 million Woodbine Mile, Musketier and Forte dei Marmi for the $500,000 Northern Dancer, Smart Sting for the $300,000 Canadian, and Colleen’s Sailor for the $150,000 Ontario Derby.

Hollinger finished eighth in last year’s Woodbine Mile, beaten just 3 1/2 lengths, and while he has always been thereabouts, he has won only one race in 16 starts since his championship 2-year-old campaign.

“I talked to his owners, and the general consensus was to give it a go,” said Attfield, who trains the homebred 5-year-old gelding for Bob Harvey and Al Wortzman.

“He had a little freshening. He’d been going for a long while.”

Musketier, a 10-year-old horse who is a 1 1/2-mile turf specialist, tuned up for the Northern Dancer over that distance and surface with a six-furlong breeze in 1:16 on the main track here Sunday.

[WOODBINE MILE: Get PPs, watch Sunday's full card live]

“He worked when the track was very slow, early on,” Attfield said. “He did what I wanted him to do. I didn’t want him to do anything more.”

Forte dei Marmi is coming off a rallying score in the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 1/4 miles on turf here Aug. 19 and will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time.

Attfield had considered shortening up Forte dei Marmi, an English-bred 6-year-old, for the Woodbine Mile, but ultimately opted for the Northern Dancer.

“I think he’s a pretty nice horse,” Attfield said. “I’ve got him in good shape, and this race should tell us whether we go on to the International or not.”

The Grade 1 Canadian International, to run here Oct. 14, also goes at 1 1/2 miles on turf and is worth $1.5 million

”I don’t see any reason that one and a half miles is going to be a problem,” Attfield said. “He’s very relaxed early, and he’s got a really big kick.”

Smart Sting, coming off a closing fourth-place finish in Arlington’s Grade 3 Modesty over 1 3/16 miles, will be traveling 1 1/8 miles in the Canadian, a turf race for fillies and mares.

“I really like her,” said Attfield, who trains Smart Sting, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old, for her owner and breeder, Frank Stronach.

“I’ve just never got her on target yet this year. I think she’s sitting on a good fall.”

Smart Sting breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 on the main track here Sunday while going in company with stablemate Smart Penny.

“She worked really, really, really well,” Attfield said.

Colleen’s Sailor competed in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, finishing a distant 12th in the Breeders’ over 1 1/2 miles on turf in the series finale, and will be cutting back to 1 1/8 miles in the Ontario Derby, an open race for 3-year-olds.

“He worked very well last Saturday,” said Attfield, who sent out Colleen’s Sailor to breeze five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the main track. “He looks like he’s back to himself.”

◗ Jockey Omar Moreno will be serving a one-day suspension Wednesday and has been fined $300 after the stewards ruled he used his whip in an excessive manner, striking fourth-place finisher Matter of Truth more than three times in succession during the stretch run of last Wednesday’s fifth race.

Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Best of luck Mr Attfield.