09/23/2008 11:00PM

Woodbine's four turf stakes on ESPN


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Oct. 4 program here, featuring four graded turf stakes, will be a first for Woodbine in more than one respect.

The major change will be that the Canadian International, E.P. Taylor, Nearctic, and Summer all will be Breeders' Cup Win and You're In races for the first time.

But on a logistical front, the program also will present a challenge to Woodbine as an unprecedented four consecutive turf races will be run in less than two hours.

The Grade 3, $300,000 Summer, a one-mile race for 2-year-olds, begins the parade at 4:04 p.m., with the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward, next at 4:35 p.m.

The Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares, follows at 5:16 p.m., with the Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, set for 5:48 p.m.

The compressed schedule will accommodate the ESPN broadcast, which will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern and also will include live coverage of the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity and the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.

The good news for local viewers is that the ESPN broadcast will be simulcast by The Score and will be available in high definition.

Turf course adjustments planned

Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary and a director of racing, said that the Summer and Nearctic will begin in lane 3 on the turf course.

Track maintenance crews will be able to take down a quarter-mile of the temporary railing between the Summer and Nearctic, and the remaining three-quarters will be removed prior to the E.P. Taylor.

The plan will guarantee pristine inside footing for the E.P. Taylor and Canadian International.

"The last time any horse was on the inside lane was on Sept. 7, Woodbine Mile Day," Lym said.

Sweetsouthern Doll primed for stakes

It has been 25 years since trainer David Cross sent out Sunny's Halo to win the Kentucky Derby for the Ontario-based D.J. Foster Racing Stable.

Cross, who has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance here over the past couple of seasons, will be looking to spark a more current celebration when he sends out Sweetsouthern Doll in Saturday's $125,000 La Lorgnette.

"The filly will run good," said Cross. "She belongs in there."

The field of eight for the La Lorgnette, an open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, is headed by Sugar Bay, who will be looking for her fourth straight win and third straight in a stakes race.

Sweetsouthern Doll, on the other hand, will be competing in just her second stakes race after finishing fourth behind Sugar Bay in the seven-furlong Duchess here Aug. 9.

"She was beaten just over a length by Sugar Bay, and she was closing on her," Cross said.

Following the Duchess, Cross was looking for a two-turn race for Sweetsouthern Doll with an eye toward the La Lorgnette. With no suitable race on the local front and with the clock ticking, Cross sent Sweetsouthern Doll to Presque Isle Downs where she won a one-mile fourth-level allowance in impressive fashion on Sept. 10.

Sweetsouthern Doll tuned up for the La Lorgnette last Friday with a very sharp four furlongs in a bullet 46.40 seconds.

Saskawea returns in Avowal

Saturday's card also will include the $100,000 Avowal, an overnight stakes over seven furlongs of turf for fillies and mares.

The Avowal, which is new to the schedule this year, could signal the beginning of better days for Saskawea, who has been a hard-luck filly this season.

"She's had a bad year," trainer Steve Attard said.

"She had a throat operation, a pus pocket. We've been behind the 8-ball. But, she's training good. I expect her to run huge."

Saskawea has seen action just twice this year, finishing fifth in the six-furlong Scotzanna on July 18 and then last of five when beaten six lengths in the prep for the Canadian Stakes.

That Aug. 14 race was just the second on turf for Saskawea, who had finished second to subsequent Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill in the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where here on July 28, 2007.

"She actually likes grass better than Polytrack," Attard said. "I don't know if she'll show it in this race or not, but we're hoping. It's a very tough race."

The Avowal attracted 16 entrants, and two are stranded on the also-eligible list.

Jordan restocks for fall campaign

Terry Jordan, who was in from his Vancouver base for a midweek visit Tuesday, has brought in some fresh troops for a fall campaign.

New to the Jordan division here, which is run by his assistant Anita Bolton, are Tigerheat and Afleet Allstar.

Tigerheat, a 3-year-old colt owned by Bud Malette, was purchased this spring with a long-term eye toward the British Columbia Derby.

"That didn't pan out," Jordan said. "He had trouble with quarter cracks. He's okay to go now."

Tigerheat, off since finishing last of six in the Count Lathum at Northlands on Aug. 2, did manage to win a first-level allowance and to finish third in the six-furlong Jim Coleman at Hastings.

Afleet Allstar, a 3-year-old gelding, has started six times, all in sprints at Hastings, winning his maiden and later finishing second under first-level allowance terms.

Fuhrever Dancing, a 6-year-old gelding who was a $60,000 claim, will soon be returning following a productive western stint for Jordan and owner Bob Cheema.

After winning the $50,000 Westerner over 1 1/16 miles at Northlands on Aug. 17, Fuhrever Dancer ended a closing third in the six-furlong Speed at Hastings on Aug. 30 and then won the 1 1/8-mile Winston Churchill Handicap there Sept. 21.

"He's in great order," Jordan said.

Jordan also reports that True Metropolitan, Canada's champion older horse in 2006 and 2007, should be back at Woodbine to seek his third straight win in the Grade 2, $150,000 Autumn, a 1 1/16-mile race here Nov. 9.

True Metropolitan, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Cheema, has put on plenty of miles this year while competing at Hastings, Woodbine, Emerald Downs, and most recently Northlands, where he finished second at 1-20 in the Speed to Spare.

"He got kind of plugged up with mucus, with all that traveling," Jordan said. "That's why I believe he lost the race in Edmonton.

"It's cleared up now, but it took 15 days."