11/11/2002 12:00AM

At 8, Parose continues to blossom

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Parose has been pure gold for owner John Atto and trainer Sandy McPherson since they claimed him for $62,500 on the final day of the 2001 Woodbine meeting.

The latest dividends were returned Saturday when Parose, enjoying the best campaign of his career at age 8, rallied for his second stakes win of the year in the Woodbine Slots Cup.

"He got a very contested pace to run at," said McPherson. "That's always good for a horse with his running style."

Parose has won 3 of 8 starts this year with four seconds and a third, and has banked $283,790.

Parose also has shown an ability to race forwardly when the pace is on the slower side, as he did when winning the Izvestia here July 20.

In fact, there isn't much Parose hasn't done during his career, which began in Alberta back in 1996 and now spans 74 races.

"He's a survivor," said McPherson. "He knows how to look after himself."

Parose will probably run next in the $125,000 Valedictory Handicap, a 1 3/4-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward on closing day, Dec. 1. Parose finished third in the 2000 Valedictory.

Following the meeting, Parose is scheduled to head back to Gulfstream, where he ran well last winter.

"He's the only horse we didn't give a break to at the farm this year," said McPherson, who has judiciously spaced out Parose's starts.

"He's very happy and he carries his weight very well. If they're not giving you a reason to lay them up, I don't think you should."

With Parose's Woodbine Slots Cup win, he is bound to attract attention in the champion older male balloting for a Sovereign Award.

"I think he's got as good a resume as any of them," said McPherson.

The main obstacle to a Sovereign title for Parose could be Wake at Noon, who is the probable sprint champion and is also eligible for consideration in the older male category.

Parose was the 20th stakes winner of the meeting for Todd Kabel, the fourth time the jockey has reached that plateau. Kabel, who stood second in the jockey standings heading into this week's action, won 28 stakes at the 1995 meeting, 20 in 1997, and 21 in 1998.

Dream Launcher's mystery ailment

Dream Launcher, who was scratched by the Ontario Racing Commission veterinarian just before the start of the Woodbine Slots Cup, was undergoing a battery of tests Monday.

"We just don't know what's going on," said Audre Cappuccitti, owner and trainer of Dream Launcher.

"He had a 'pulse' in one foot earlier in the week, but we pulled his shoe and it was fine.

"He was fine going into the race. I had two vets who cleared him, plus the commission vet."

Cappuccitti said jockey Richard Dos Ramos had felt that Dream Launcher "was a tiny bit off" on post parade, and when the horse did not warm up to the jockey's satisfaction he informed the attending veterinarian.

Dream Launcher left Parose in second place when he won the Durham Cup in his last start.

El Prado Essence ready

Cappuccitti is hoping for better luck in Sunday's Grade 3 Bessarabian with El Prado Essence, a 5-year-old mare who worked five furlongs under Dos Ramos in a bullet 59.40 seconds on a fast training track here Saturday.

"I never thought she was going that fast," said Cappuccitti, who owns El Prado Essence in partnership with her husband, Gordon. "She was going easy."

El Prado Essence has been assigned highweight of 119 pounds for the $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares.

In her last start, the six-furlong Ontario Fashion on Oct. 26, El Prado Essence pressed a quick pace and faltered to finish fifth as the even-money favorite.

"I think she'll do better at seven furlongs," said Cappuccitti.

El Prado Essence finished second to Feathers in the 2000 edition of the Bessarabian.

Feathers also is back for the Bessarabian. Feathers, a 5-year-old trained by Ralph Biamonte, breezed four furlongs in 51.60 seconds under Jim McKnight on a sloppy main track Monday and gets into the Bessarabian at 116 pounds.

Feathers, who also finished second in last year's Bessarabian, was a smart winner of the Fashion for the Tooth and Nail Stable last out. McKnight rides her on Sunday.

Miss Sweep, a 4-year-old trained by Biamonte, will also run in the Bessarabian, Biamonte said. Miss Sweep finished third when coupled with Feathers for the Fashion and breezed four furlongs in 49 seconds Monday under exercise rider Paul Ravera.

Owned by Gemini Farm and Vincent Kerrio, Miss Sweep was weighted at 112 for Sunday's handicap.

Tackling Stress goes long again

Tackling Stress, a candidate for Saturday's $125,000 Display Stakes, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 under jockey Constant Montpellier on the main track on Sunday.

"He went nice and easy," said Dave Cotey, who trains Tackling Stress and is a co-owner of the colt along with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith. "He finished real well, and galloped out well. He's fit. I don't want to work him hard."

Tackling Stress will be making his second start around two turns in the Display, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds. The colt finished a closing fourth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, in the one-mile Dover at Delaware Park Oct. 26.

"He was in tight, and backed right down," said Cotey. "Then all of a sudden another horse came up outside him, and he took off again."

Gigawatt, coming off a second to Wando in the Grade 2 Grey here Oct. 6, worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on the main track Saturday and looms the one to beat in the Display.