10/16/2003 11:00PM

Ballingarry needs to prove it again in International


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - For a horse that is trying to repeat in the Canadian International, Ballingarry hasn't been getting much respect.

And perhaps that's understandable, since Ballingarry has won just 1 of 6 races since being sold right after his victory here in 2002.

Ballingarry went from here to the Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington, where he finished seventh of eight in his first start for trainer Laura de Seroux and a California-based consortium of owners.

While Ballingarry hasn't been consistent as a 4-year-old, his traveling companion, assistant trainer-exercise rider Brian Lynch, believes things are about to change.

"He galloped out around really strong," said Lynch, after putting Ballingarry through his paces here Friday morning. "He almost did more than I wanted him to. He was feeling that good.

"I've ridden him quite a bit, and he never felt the way he did with me before."

Ballingarry ran well when he finished third to Storming Home and Denon in the Jim Murray Memorial at Hollywood on May 10. He followed with a win in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes at Arlington on July 5.

Ballingary threw in a serious clunker, though, in Saratoga's Grade 1 Sword Dancer, finishing ninth at 4-1.

"The weather was terrible there," said Lynch, referring to the rain and heat at the Sword Dancer. "It knocked him sideways. He never really got into the game that day.

"When horses run that bad, you can throw the race out."

The Ballingarry camp was encouraged by his next start, a closing fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, and is optimistic about Sunday's race.

"It was nice to see him bounce back after he ran so bad," said Lynch. "It showed that he still wanted to run. This is a very, very good horse, I think, when he puts on his A game."

Wohler back with Sabiango

For the third consecutive year, trainer Andreas Wohler will be sending out a German invader in the Canadian International. Wohler watched Paolini finish second in 2001 and sixth last year.

On Sunday, Wohler will send Sabiango, a 5-year-old horse making his 14th career start.

A Group 1 winner of 3 of 6 starts as a 3-year-old, Sabiango made it to the post only twice at 4 and was defeated each time.

Wohler blamed a bacterial infection and an allergic reaction which necessitated a rehabilitative stint with Simon Stokes, racing manager for the horse's owner, Gestut Fahrhof.

"He came back to me in December," said Wohler. "I wanted to give him time. He was supposed to run in mid-May, but he bruised his foot."

Sabiango did make it back to the races in June, finishing third in a Group 2, and four weeks later won his second Group 1 in Germany.

That's when Wohler began considering Sabiango as a Canadian International candidate.

But Sabiango's final race at home, Aug. 17, was a fourth-place finish for which Wohler had no explanation.

"There were good horses in that race, but it wasn't his true form," said Wohler.

In his most recent start, Sabiango finished fourth, beaten four lengths, in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont Park. The top three finishers in that race - Sulamani, Deeliteful Irving, and Balto Star - are slated to run in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Wohler said a slow pace, and the fact Sabiango was racing on the outside, compromised his chances in the Turf Classic.

"He needs a more true-run race," said Wohler.

Wohler left Sabiango at Belmont after the race and saw him for the first time since on Friday morning.

Three in line for $50K bonus

John Hammond, Kiaran McLaughlin, and Mark Frostad are the three trainers in the running for Woodbine's new $50,000 bonus for Canadian International and E.P. Taylor Stakes participants.

The bonus is available to the trainer who starts at least one horse in each of the races and accumulates the most points, based on a 10-6-4-2-1 scale for the top five finishers.

If there is a tie, the trainer with the highest overall finish in either race will be declared the winner. If the tie cannot be broken, the bonus will be divided.

Hammond will be represented by Gruntled in the International and by Mer de Corail in the Taylor.

McLaughlin will send out Lunar Sovereign for the International, and Volga for the Taylor. Since coming over from France two years ago, Volga had been trained by Christophe Clement but was transferred to McLaughlin after finishing fifth last time out in the WinStar Galaxy at Keeneland Oct. 4.

Frostad has the uncoupled Sam-Son Farm pair of the late-running Portcullis, and Shoal Water, the probable pacesetter, for the International. Baie, who came to Woodbine and Frostad shortly after finishing fourth in the Garden City Breeders' Cup at Belmont Sept. 7, will be his Taylor entrant.

Frostad will also start Puffer and Colorful Judgement in Sunday's $108,000 Chief Bearhart, the 1 1/4-mile turf race named in honor of the horse Frostad sent out to win both the Canadian International and Breeders' Cup Turf in 1997.

Chief Bearhart also finished second twice in the International, defeated by Singspiel in 1996 and Royal Anthem in 1998.