06/14/2007 11:00PM

Zadracarta rematch is a go


ETOBICOKE, Canada - Count to Three and Maria Clarissa, the one-two finishers in last year's Zadracarta, will meet again in the 2007 renewal of the race here at Woodbine on Sunday.

The $75,000 Zadracarta is a six-furlong turf race for Ontario-foaled fillies and mares. It seemed destined for the scrap heap late Thursday morning, but several last-minute entries, including Siwa, a speedy 3-year-old filly who was supplemented at a cost of $1,500, saved the day.

Count to Three, a 5-year-old owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, had started once at Keeneland and once at Woodbine prior to her half-length score in the Zadracarta. This year, however, the Zadracarta will be Count to Three's seasonal bow.

"She wintered in Ontario, and I had her down at Keeneland," said Frostad. "She wasn't ready before this. This seems to be a good starting point, and the race might set up well for us."

Maria Clarissa, a 6-year-old who is owned and trained by Gail Cox, was making her third start of the season in last year's Zadracarta and again comes in with two races under her belt.

"This was one of her early-season goals," said Cox. "She's in good shape."

Maria Clarissa's two starts this year came under third-level allowance terms. She finished second to the stakes-winning Executive Flight at 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack and third behind the up-and-coming She's Indy Money at seven furlongs on turf.

Cox's main concern is that the Zadracarta's six-furlong distance now may be a touch on the short side for Maria Clarissa.

"This year, she's very relaxed," said Cox. "She always comes running, but she's getting too far out of it."

Cox will attempt to address that situation by equipping Maria Clarissa with blinkers.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, who was Count to Three's regular rider last year, will be back aboard after riding Maria Clarissa in her two starts here this spring.

Corey Fraser, who has been in the irons for all three of Maria Clarissa's career victories, regains the mount.

Becky Sharp, who also is making her first start of the year, should add speed to the mix, while Arden Belle, a smart winner of her seasonal debut under second-level allowance terms, looms a late-running threat.

Rounding out the field will be Our Madison, who will be making her first start for trainer Mark Casse after being claimed for $62,500 here May 21.

Casse and Patrick Husbands, who will ride Our Madison, have combined to win stakes here in their last four attempts together.

Marchfield works five furlongs for Plate

Marchfield, runner-up in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial here June 3, breezed five furlongs in 59.80 seconds under Husbands here Friday morning.

"He worked extremely well," said Casse.

The work did take an unexpected turn, however.

"A horse, somebody else's, broke off about 10 lengths in front of him," said Casse. "He kind of got a little eye on that horse. Patrick just kind of let him go easy, and he ended up about three lengths behind that horse at the end."

Casse said he timed Marchfield galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.60 and a mile in 1:40.80.

"He doesn't need any more," said Casse. "This is it."

Jiggs Coz, the 3 1/4-length winner of the Plate Trial, heads a list of nine Canadian-bred 3-year-olds pointing for next Sunday's $1 million, 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate heading into the weekend.

Frostad wins appeal of fine

Frostad has won his appeal of a stewards ruling issued last Aug. 12 under which he was fined $2,000 for refusing to allow his horse, Elegant Effort, to be administered Lasix prior to a race on July 22, 2006.

As a result, Elegant Effort had to be scratched from the final race that day, which had been taken off the turf and moved to the sloppy main track.

Racing at the time was being conducted on the renovated Standardbred oval that was being used during Polytrack construction.

Frostad successfully argued that Elegant Effort's proven dislike of off going could have created a dangerous situation for herself, her jockey, and other participants in the race.

He had attempted to scratch Elegant Effort, but she wound up being "stuck" in the race when a number of other trainers attempted to do likewise.

It is Woodbine's policy to allow a field to scratch down to no less than five horses, and when more scratches are requested a draw is held to determine who will be compelled to race.

The scratch of Elegant Effort created a four-horse field.

Breeders awards program expanded

The local division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society has announced that breeders awards now will be distributed to Ontario-breds racing in graded stakes in other Canadian provinces and in the United States.

The Ontario Thoroughbred Improvement Program has budgeted $100,000 for the awards, with winners to be paid at the same level as graded stakes at Woodbine. Awards for place and show horses will be issued if budgeted funds remain available.

All awards will be pro-rated, with no award distribution less than $1,000. There will be a cap of $75,000 for any individual breeder.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its 45th annual awards day here Sunday. Presentations will be made in the winner's circle following the second through sixth races. The club will be situated in the third-floor Champions area, and visitors are welcome.