08/23/2001 11:00PM

Attfield sending Poetically on turf in Colleen


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Nearly everything went Poetically's way in 2000, when she won three stakes and was crowned the country's champion 2-year-old filly, even though she lost to Dancethruthedawn in both of their meetings.

But the dreaded sophomore jinx has dogged Poetically this year. She is winless in four starts, and a blood disorder forced her to miss the Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

Poetically will try to get back on the winning track in her first grass outing, Sunday's $119,200 Ontario Colleen Handicap, a mile race that has lured 13 other 3-year-old fillies to the Woodbine turf.

Poetically finished second in the Bison City Stakes in her second start off the shelf, and was then fourth in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks. She ran third behind unbeaten Meadow Gem and Gold Mover on a speed-favoring track here two weeks ago in the Duchess Stakes.

Trainer Roger Attfield believes Poetically's efforts in the 1 1/16-mile Delaware Oaks and in the seven-furlong Duchess were better than they appear on paper.

"She got crowded on the turn while down inside in the Oaks," Attfield said.

"She got a little confused, and dropped the bit, but came back on again in the lane. Cutting back from a two-turn race was a difficult thing for her to do in the Duchess. I think she definitely wants to run on this year."

Attfield is confident that Poetically, a daughter of Silver Deputy, will handle the grass.

"She had one work on the turf, and it was about the same as her dirt works," Attfield said. "She's out of a Lord at War mare, and is by a sire who gets runners on every surface."

Rounding out the field for the Colleen are Clubay, Silver Duchess, Love Kiss, Phone Dancer, Awesome Deed, Chopinina, Love and Marry, Soundtrack, Foxy Connection, Serena's Tune, Libretto, Dreams Go Bye, and Skipping Stone.

The Stronach Stable entry of Libretto, Love and Marry, and Love Kiss should be well-backed.

Trainer Tino Attard will saddle Libretto, who toppled older rivals in a recent $62,500 optional claimer.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce, who captured the 2000 Colleen with Diadella, entered the other Stronach duo, but said that one of them could be scratched.

Love and Marry, a half-sister to Diadella, enjoys the front end, but Pierce is hoping that she will rate just off the early lead before making her move in the Colleen.

"I've run her three times, and she's had two wins and a second," Pierce said. "She comes to play every time you lead her over there."