05/06/2011 11:41AM

Woodbine: Southdale returns to action in Vigil Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Southdale was put away late last year with some minor problems and an eye toward a career as an Ontario stallion.

But when a deal failed to materialize, Southdale went back into training at Payson Park in Florida and will be looking to return with a vengeance in Sunday’s $150,000 Vigil here at Woodbine.

Ian Black, who trains the homebred Southdale for owner Rod Ferguson, had hoped to start the 5-year-old at the Keeneland meeting.

“Originally, we were thinking about the Commonwealth,” Black said, with reference to the seven-furlong stakes in Lexington on April 16.

“Then, he came up with a quarter crack. We patched it, he’s had two breezes since then, and they’ve both been excellent.”

Emma-Jayne Wilson, who has ridden Southdale to three of his four career victories, will return to the saddle for the seven-furlong Vigil.

In his only previous try at the distance, Southdale won his maiden in his second career start and local debut in May 2009.

Rahy’s Attorney getting a break

Southdale checked back into Woodbine last Sunday morning in company with stablemate Rahy’s Attorney, who came up 2 1/2 lengths short as the fifth-place finisher at Keeneland last Friday in the 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn Stakes.

Rahy’s Attorney, coming off a pace-pressing score in the Pan American over 1 1/2 miles of firm going at Gulfstream Park, found himself alone on the lead on a yielding Lexington course and gave way late under Wilson.

“He ran hard,” Black said. “The turf was probably softer than we thought. He just got tired inside the sixteenth pole.”

Rahy’s Attorney, a 7-year-old gelding who won the 2007 Woodbine Mile, seems to have found a new niche in marathon turf racing.

“We’ll give him a little break and decide where we want to go,” Black said. “The Singspiel would fit in; that gives him a little time.”

The Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile turf race that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000, will be run here on Queen’s Plate Day, June 26.

Miss Keller heading to Hollywood

Miss Keller, Canada’s champion turf female of 2010, currently is at Churchill Downs but is slated to make her next start in California.

“I was going to run her there Saturday,” said Attfield, who had planned to enter Miss Keller in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile but was concerned over the prospect of a less-than-firm turf course.

“But now I’m bringing her back here and then I’m planning on sending her to California for the Gamely.”

The Gamely, which will be run over 1/8 miles of turf on May 30 at Hollywood Park, offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $250,000.

Miss Keller made her seasonal bow at Keeneland on April 16, ending four lengths behind the winner as the sixth-place finisher over 1 1/16 miles of yielding going.

Attfield stakes winners get to work

A sextet of Attfield stakes winners worked over the main track here on Friday morning.

Society’s Chairman and Stormy Rush, Mekong Melody and Hollinger, and Sand Cove and No Explaining paired off to breeze five furlongs.

The quickest duo was Society’s Chairman and Stormy Rush, who were clocked in 59 seconds.

Society’s Chairman, who had Omar Moreno in the irons, is heading for the Grade 2, $150,000 Connaught Cup, a seven-furlong race here May 29 that is scheduled to be the first turf stakes of the meeting.

Stormy Rush, who had Jono Jones aboard for the breeze, could see action in the $150,000 Marine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds here May 21.

The $150,000 Marine, an open race, attracted 18 nominees.

Mekong Melody, with Patrick Husbands aboard, and Hollinger, under Tyler Pizarro, both were clocked in 1:01.20

Runner-up to Miss Keller in the Sovereign Award voting for the female turf division last year, Mekong Melody was breezing for just the third time this year.

“She’s coming back quicker than I thought,” Attfield said. “I don’t really know what I’m going to do with her.”

Hollinger, undefeated in four starts and Canada’s champion 2-year-old male of 2009, was sidelined on the road to the Queen’s Plate last spring but returned recently with a third-place finish at Keeneland.

That classified allowance race, over 1 1/16 miles of turf, was Hollinger’s first start in 10 months.

“I thought it was a pretty good race,” Attfield said. “I thought he’d get tired, and he did.

Hollinger also is a candidate for the Connaught Cup.

“I’m probably going to keep him on the grass,” Attfield said.

Sand Cove, last year’s champion older male, had regular rider Richard Dos Ramos aboard, while No Explaining breezed under exercise rider Darren Fortune. Both were timed in 1:02.

Sired in Ontario, Sand Cove has been nominated to the six-furlong New Providence on May 22, but Attfield is not particularly keen on going that route.

“I started going longer with him last year, and he did better,” Attfield said.

A total of 12 horses have been nominated to the New Providence, which is a restricted six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up.

No Explaining, a winner under third-level allowance terms in a 1 1/16-mile turf race at Keeneland on April 16, is headed for the Nassau here June 4.

The one-mile Nassau, which is the first scheduled turf stakes of the season for fillies and mares, offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $300,000.

Biofuel’s return put on hold

Biofuel, who had been eyeing a return in Saturday’s $150,000 Hendrie, is now unlikely to make that 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares.

“I still haven’t got her 100 percent,” said Reade Baker, who trains the homebred Biofuel for Brereton C. Jones.

“When she comes out of her stall, she’s been taking three steps on her toe before putting her foot down. I can’t figure out what it is, and neither can anyone else.

“If it was any other horse in the barn, I wouldn’t worry about it. But she’s too valuable.”

Biofuel was Canada’s Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly last year, winning four stakes here and placing in two Grade 1 events in New York.