06/22/2012 3:05PM

Woodbine: Shippers look prominent on Queen's Plate undercard


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Shippers should be very prominent in both the My Dear and the Trillium, the two stakes that are coming in well under the radar on Woodbine’s Queen’s Plate Day program.

Ju Ju Eyeballs, a member of Wesley Ward’s division at Monmouth Park, is looming as the choice of seven 2-year-old fillies in $150,000, five-furlong My Dear.

Upperline, based at Arlington Park with trainer Michael Stidham, will be looking for a local repeat after romping when making her Woodbine debut in last year’s $100,000 Trillium, a 1 1/8-mile overnight stakes for fillies and mares that attracted a field of eight.

Ju Ju Eyeballs was training at Keeneland but debuted at Aqueduct on April 19 with a second-place finish behind the colt Shanghai Bobby.

On June 1, at Monmouth, Ju Ju Eyeballs returned with an impressive 4 1/4-length win, defeating males at the same distance

“She came back to Keeneland, after the Aqueduct race,” said Ward. “She’s shown a lot of affinity for the synthetic surface there.

“Then I sent her down to Monmouth and she won very, very nicely. Everything came together.”

Ward expressed some concern about the turnaround for Ju Ju Eyeballs, who will be ridden here by Corey Nakatani.

“I do like to get them more time when they run such a big effort,” said Ward.

“But she came out of the race in very good order, and she went very well when I breezed her back the other day.”

Just Got In, trained here by Ricky Griffith, was a 7 1/2-length winner of her debut at 4 1/2 furlongs and is the leading local candidate for the My Dear.

“She was very pleasing to the eye,” said Griffith. “She was geared down, and ran fast.

“We ran kind of how we thought she would. She’d been training very, very well. She’s just naturally fast.”

Chris Griffith, brother of the trainer, retains the mount on Just Got In. The pair collaborated with Ray’s Away to win last weekend’s Victoria Stakes, with the invading Ward-trained filly Allaboutcaroline finishing third at 1-10.

Lake Dancer, trained by Mark Casse, also will be looking to double up in the Victoria after winning her first start from off the pace at five furlongs at Churchill Downs.

Luis Contreras will ride the New York-bred Lake Dancer for the first time.

As for Upperline, the 5-year-old used last year’s Trillium as a stepping-stone to Arlington’s Grade 1 Beverly D., a 1 3/16-mile turf race for fillies and mare in which she finished fifth, beaten four lengths.

And while Stidham has the same long-term target this year, he looks to be in a stronger position as Upperline is coming off victories in the Grade 3 Bewitch over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Keeneland and the Grade 3 Arlington Matron over 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack.

“She’s come back and run very strongly this year,” said Stidham. “We’re trying to get ourselves in the best position, and this race would fit in well as a prep for the Modesty, as a prep for the Beverley D.

The Modesty, also at 1 3/16 miles on turf, will be run at Arlington on July 14. The Beverly D. is scheduled for Aug. 18.

James Graham, who has ridden Upperline to her last two stakes scores, retains the mount on the 124-pound highweight.

Stars to Shine, who is based here with trainer Mark Frostad, has run well here on Polytrack, winning the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone, and on turf, finishing a close third in the Grade 2 Canadian at 1 1/8 miles.

The Trillium, however, will be Stars to Shine’s first appearance since she was beaten 3 1/4 lengths in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Spinster at 1 1/8 miles last October.

“She condylar-fractured there, and still finished fifth,” said trainer Mark Frostad, who was reunited with Stars to Shine at Keeneland this spring after the 5-year-old spent the winter recuperating in Florida.

“This race has always been the target but it’s a pretty big task, facing these at a mile and an eighth, first time out.”

Stars to Shine gets in with 119 pounds and will be ridden by Alex Solis.

The dark horse in the Trillium could be Maristar, who began her career in England with trainer Gerard Butler but relocated to Illinois last spring and has been based at Keeneland this season.

Maristar finished fifth, beaten 20 lengths, as the favorite in last year’s Trillium but shipped in early to prepare for this engagement and would be very dangerous on her best effort. Local rider David Moran has the mount.