04/28/2010 11:00PM

Woodbine Oaks hopefuls start season


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Woodbine Oaks prospects Resentless and Roan Inish will both make their first start of the year in the $150,000 Fury Stakes on an 11-race card Saturday. Between them, Resentless seems most likely to put her best hoof forward in the seven-furlong sprint for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Resentless served notice that she had lots of potential when she graduated second time out over seven furlongs, receiving an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. A front-runner, Resentless went on to finish fourth in the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes and second in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes before capturing the slow-paced Ontario Lassie Stakes with ease.

Trainer Ian Howard said Resentless wintered at Nelson Jones Farm in central Florida and has trained forwardly for her return to action.

"I think she's improved a lot since last year," Howard said. "She's trained as well as you could ask a horse to train. There won't be an excuse as far as being short. The only thing that worries me is that she gets too anxious, but we've been schooling her. She's very aggressive. She trains as hard as any horse I've ever been around. I would have liked to have run her a little earlier, but this is the first race that we were able to go in."

Roan Inish didn't show much in her first three starts last year, which were all in Ireland. She won her maiden in style here Oct. 31 in the Princess Elizabeth and was a fast-closing second just two weeks later in the seven-furlong Glorious Song Stakes.

Roan Inish spent the winter at the San Luis Rey Downs training center in Southern California with trainer Carolyn Costigan.

"She had plenty of time off after her last race and she wintered good," Costigan said. "She's been training nicely. Physically, she's stronger and feeling better about herself than she was when I brought her over from Ireland. She's become more professional and she's gotten a lot bigger."

Costigan, who has the June 13 Oaks and the July 4 Queen's Plate in mind for Roan Inish, said the daughter of Elusive Quality hasn't been cranked up for the Fury.

"She's probably 80 percent fit," Costigan said. "This is her first race back, and I expect her to be competitive, because she's competitive by nature. I hope there's a bit of speed in there, and when she has somebody in her sights, she'll go after them."