05/26/2010 11:00PM

Woodbine roundup

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WHO'S HOT

Jockeys Patrick Husbands and Chantal Sutherland both won six races from May 19-24. Sutherland had the best win percentage (19) among all of the leading riders during that time.

Apprentice Cory Spataro won aboard his only mount. The other bugs who found the winner's circle were Omar Moreno, Caroline Duquet, and Betty-Jo Williams.

Eurico Da Silva saw limited action due to a suspension, but he managed to exit the week in a tie for leading rider with Husbands, with 34 victories apiece.

Mark Casse made his way back to the top of the trainer standings, registering four wins with 22 starters from May 19-24. Casse had 15 scores at the meet, which was two more than both Bob Tiller and Steve Asmussen.

Other hot trainers last week included Scott Fairlie, Don MacRae, Analisa Delmas and Josie Carroll.

TRACK TRENDS

Wednesday, May 19: The Polytrack was noticeably slow, and the outside was the place to be. Wide stalkers or wide closers won all eight races. Some of the horses who raced inside were Frobisher Bay, Cavalierdancer, Stolonboy, Alwaysadream, Clarkstoncharm, and Watercolormemories.

Saturday, May 22: The inside path seemed dead, as there were no rail winners in the eight Polytrack events. Horses who got bogged down along the wood included Seco, Trinnon in Love, Alabama Grace, Little Amy, Executive Deed, and Dame Cliequot.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

The Todd Pletcher-trained Embur's Song established herself as the one to beat in the June 13 Woodbine Oaks with her relatively easy win over older opposition last Saturday under Chantal Sutherland.

Embur's Song led throughout the 1 1/16-mile allowance to score by nearly four lengths in 1:42.44, just .22 off the Polytrack record set by champion True Metropolitan.

"She's awesome," said Sutherland. "She's still very green. Everything was new to her, and she was looking around. At one point, she was just loping along. I feel like she's going to get a lot out of that. She's going to get better and better. Her body is very athletic. When she jogs, you don't even feel her feet landing on the ground."

Biofuel, Canada's co-champion 2-year-old filly last year, overcame a slow pace with a powerful wide rally to capture the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette Stakes for 3-year-old fillies last Sunday.

Biofuel trailed the field on the backstretch under Eurico Da Silva before commencing her bid at the three-eighths pole. She overtook Woodbine Oaks prospect Ernfold with a sixteenth left en route to a one-length win in 1:45.49. The Beyer (82) wasn't big, but she got the job done without blowing a gasket.

Trainer Reade Baker said Biofuel will likely make her next start June 26 in the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont. The $250,000 Mother Goose, a 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies, will be Biofuel's first race on dirt.

DOLLARS AND CENTS

Horseplayers who bet through Woodbine are at a disadvantage when wagering into American pools on bets that are offered with a minimum of less than $1. Woodbine has been trying to rectify the situation with the Canadian Pari-mutuel Agency so that Canadians will be allowed to bet 50-cent pick fours and dime supers on U.S. tracks.

Woodbine should consider increasing the current 20-cent base bet for the pick four on live racing to 50 cents, to make it identical to what some other major tracks are offering. Such a move, coupled with a guaranteed pool and a significant takeout decrease, could see the already appealing wager soar in popularity.

QUEEN'S PLATE TOP 10

The 151st running of the $1 million Queen's Plate, arguably Canada's most prestigious race, will be run at Woodbine July 4. The 1 1/4-mile fixture is restricted to Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, and has been won by such standouts as

Northern Dancer, Awesome Again and Dance Smartly. These are my top 10 contenders for the race:

1. Mobilizer: Graduated with determination second time out May 8, and was a wide-closing second in a fast allowance route last Saturday. Stronach Stable runner is well regarded by Roger Attfield. Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to attend this year's Plate, and Stronach's Awesome Again was victorious the last time that she was here for the race in 1997.

2. Artic Fern: Won a quick maiden special in his second start April 17, and proved it wasn't a fluke when he outran Mobilizer after setting moderate fractions in his rapid allowance win going long last Saturday, for which he got a 97 Beyer. Langfuhr gelding is out of a full sister to 1999 Plate winner Woodcarver.

3. Hotep: A full brother to last year's Plate winner, Eye of the Leopard, he snapped out of a slump while taking the May 8 Wando Stakes. The son of A.P. Indy is one of three Sam-Son Farm homebreds on the list, along with Giant's Tomb and Dark Cloud Dancer.

4. Hollinger: The reigning Canadian champion 2-year-old suffered his first loss in his season debut when he was a fading fourth in the May 15 Queenston Stakes. That race should set him up adequately for a two-turn engagement, but he could be going into the big dance with just two preps under his girth.

5. Embur's Song: Unbeaten Todd Pletcher-trained filly has the highest Beyers among all the Plate nominees (99 and 98), and she should be favored in the June 13 Woodbine Oaks.

6. D's Wando: Closer appears to be a genuine stayer, like his sire, Wando, who captured the Canadian Triple Crown in 2003.

7. Giant's Tomb: Son of Awesome Again has six two-turn races on his r sum , and he appears to want to run all day.

8. Ghost Fleet: Won two stakes at 2, before ending up fourth behind Hollinger and D's Wando in the nine-furlong Coronation Futurity in November. He checked in second in the seven-furlong Queenston following a six-month layoff.

9. Dark Cloud Dancer: Won his maiden second time out traveling seven furlongs May 16, earning a respectable 85 Beyer. Son of Storm Cat is out of 2001 Plate winner Dancethruthedawn.

10. Essence Hit Man: Crack sprinter isn't eligible for the Plate, but he could be supplemented to the race at the time of entry for $25,000. Son of champion sprinter Speightstown has never run beyond seven furlongs, and is questionable over longer route distances.

HORSES TO WATCH

Maxwell Coast

Trainer: Mark Casse

Last race: May 23, 3rd

Finish: 4th by 6 1/4

Debuting 2-year-old broke slowly from the 1-hole and rallied from last before galloping out far in front in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden dash. Melnyk homebred by Broken Vow is bred to run on and shouldn't be held off much longer.

Executive Deed

Trainer: Sid Attard

Last race: May 22, 8th

Finish: 6th by 15

Faded on a dead rail after stalking the pace in the briskly run Ballade Stakes, in which she figured to bounce off her victorious season opener.

Zinn House Doll

Trainer: Ralph Biamonte

Last race: May 21, 3rd

Finish: 2nd by 1/2

Rallied strongly with a smooth stride to end up second in her six-furlong debut, after which she galloped out well. Daughter of Milwaukee Brew is bred to go farther.

Thislilsoulofmine

Trainer: Roger Attfield

Last race: May 23, 5th

Finish: 6th by 6 1/2

Making her debut in a one-mile maiden special on the turf, she ran into traffic and was checked early in the stretch in the midst of a rail rally. Daughter of Perfect Soul and a Kingmambo mare has potential.