07/12/2007 11:00PM

Alvena steps up off lengthy win

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Alvena, a well-bred daughter of Seeking the Gold, will be strongly backed while making her stakes debut Sunday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Shady Well, a 5 1/2-furlong dash for 2-year-olds fillies.

Alvena was heavily favored in both of her starts. In her debut on May 12, she set the pace before being caught late by the more experienced Spin Move, and wound up second.

"When she came back to the barn, we scoped her and found that she was full of mucus," said trainer Josie Carroll. "She hadn't coughed or shown any other signs before the race. It was at the time when [a virus] was going around the 2-year-olds."

Alvena made no mistakes in her second appearance, in another 4 1/2-furlong maiden special on June 9. She led throughout to prevail by six lengths and earn a Beyer Figure of 74.

"She ran to our expectations the second time," said Carroll.

Alvena is out of the Carroll-trained Willow Bunch, who won 4 of 5 starts, including the Jammed Lovely and La Lorgnette stakes. Alvena's second dam, Golden Mirage, was also a stakes winner for Carroll.

"They all have similar looks and temperament," said Carroll. "It's a very athletic family."

Wildcat Nite, Executrix, and La Bonita Uno are also in the six-horse field of Ontario-breds.

Wildcat Nite was favored in her only outing, a 4 1/2-furlong maiden event for Ontario-sired fillies June 16. She attended the pace on the outside and opened up a clear lead in the stretch before holding on to win by a neck.

Trainer Mark Casse said he expected more from Wildcat Nite in her opener.

"I thought that she would be very tough in her first start, and I was kind of disappointed to see her stop the last part," Casse said. "She's trained very well since then. I've worked her a couple of five-eighths, where she galloped out a strong three-quarters."

Executrix finished third behind Spin Move and Alvena in her debut. She subsequently trounced Ontario-sired maidens June 2 while earning a 79 Beyer, the highest in the Shady Well lineup.

Two weeks ago in the open My Dear Stakes, Executrix broke awkwardly and then stalked the leaders before flattening out to finish fifth behind a long gone Dancing Allstar.

La Bonita Uno won her June 1 debut on the front end over $50,000 maidens for trainer Dave Cross Jr.