10/03/2008 12:00AM

After the Applause gets key changes for Mazarine


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - After the Applause wound up being a fringe player in the Natalma, settling for fourth after drifting very wide at the top of the stretch.

On Sunday, After the Applause looks to play a leading role as she tries two turns for the first time in the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Mazarine for 2-year-old fillies.

The Mazarine, which attracted a field of 10, is worth $250,000, including $50,000 for Breeders' Cup nominees.

After the Applause, a Kentucky-bred who is owned by Tucci Stable and trained by Nick Gonzalez, is not Breeders' Cup eligible.

Purchased privately after winning her maiden over five furlongs at Calder, After the Applause closed strongly to lose by a head in her local debut in the six-furlong Ontario Debutante.

Stretched out to a mile for the Natalma, which was run over yielding turf, After the Applause was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by C Karma in the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race.

"She should have won easily," said Martha Gonzalez, Gonzalez's wife and assistant trainer. "It was just one of those races I'll never understand how she ended up being so wide."

After the Applause raced with blinkers for the first time in the Natalma but they will be removed for the Mazarine, and she will have a new rider in Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"The two turns won't be an issue," said Gonzalez. "She's bred to go long.

"And, she should like this weather much better. She heat-stroked on us after her last race."

Trainer Mark Casse, who won last year's Mazarine with Officer Cherrie, sends out a double threat Sunday in Retraceable and Bedtime Story.

Retraceable, an Ontario-bred, made a winning debut at six furlongs, then finished a closing second in the seven-furlong Muskoka, a yearling sales stakes.

"She got in all kinds of trouble," said Casse. "She had to check four or five times down the backstretch. And she stayed on her left lead. That took a lot of her punch away."

Bedtime Story won her maiden over a mile and 70 yards in her second start. She finished fifth in the Ice Water, an overnight stakes over seven furlongs of turf here Aug. 24.

"Up to that point, all the maiden races here had been three-quarters of a mile," said Casse. "One of the reasons I ran her in there was to give her a chance at seven-eighths."

Van Lear Rose, the Muskoka winner, also stretches out for the first time and is a serious contender.