10/13/2003 11:00PM

All is right with Strut the Stage


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Strut the Stage, the main local hopeful for the $1.5 million Canadian International, and Baie, who relocated at Woodbine last month to prepare for the $750,000 E.P. Taylor, both breezed five furlongs on the turf course Tuesday.

The 1 1/2-mile Canadian International and the 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor, both Grade 1 turf races, will be run here Sunday. The International is for 3-year-olds and up, the Taylor for fillies and mares.

Jockey Slade Callaghan was aboard both Strut the Stage, who was clocked in 1:03.60, and Baie, who went in 1:02. Strut the Stage will be ridden by Todd Kabel on Sunday, while Mike Smith has the call on Baie.

Strut the Stage "went really good, nice and easy," said Callaghan. "[Baie] went really well. She did everything right. She's a doll."

Strut the Stage, owned by Sam-Son Farm, and Baie, owned by Six C Stable, are both trained by Mark Frostad, who will be shooting for a new $50,000 bonus offered by Woodbine. The bonus is a contest for trainers who have horses in both the International and Taylor, and is based on total points accumulated in the two races, on a 10-6-4-2-1 scale for the top five finishers.

Frostad might enter as many as three horses in the International, with Portcullis and Shoal Water joining their Sam-Son Farm stablemate.

Portcullis and Shoal Water also are nominated to the $100,000 Chief Bearhart, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up that will be run on the Sunday program.

Only two eligible for bonus

The only other trainer with a shot at the bonus is John Hammond, who will send out Gruntled for the International and Mer de Corail for the Taylor.

Gruntled and Mer de Corail, both based in France, arrived here Monday evening.

Gruntled, a 4-year-old, won the Group 3 Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte over 1 1/4 miles of good turf in his last start Sept. 16. Frankie Dettori has the mount on Sunday.

Mer de Corail, also 4, is coming off a win in the listed Prix d'Automne at 1 1/4 miles on soft turf at Longchamp Sept. 11. Mer de Corail will be ridden in the Taylor by Jamie Spencer, who also has picked up the mount on Brian Boru.

Brian Boru originally was slated to be ridden by Mick Kinane, who won last year's International aboard Ballingarry.

Spencer rode Brian Boru in his three most recent starts, including a last-out victory in the Grade 1 St. Leger at Doncaster.

While Spencer will ride in the International for the first time, he did ride at Woodbine before, in the 2000 Atto Mile, guiding Arkadian Hero to an unlucky second-place finish.

Add New Economy to Taylor

The number of E.P. Taylor candidates reached 11 with the addition of New Economy, who is owned by Robert Evans and trained by Graham Motion.

New Economy, a 5-year-old, is coming off a third-place finish, beaten 8 1/2 lengths by runaway winner Bien Nicole in the Grade 2 WinStar Galaxy over 1 3/16 miles on the turf at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

Byzantine, locally based and the oldest member of the Taylor field at age 7, was on the training track Tuesday, going four furlongs in 50 seconds.