09/25/2005 11:00PM

Bear Stables pulls second straight stakes upset

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Noble Stella, returning on only one week's rest, cruises to a 9 1/4-length victory under jockey Emile Ramsammy in Sunday's Flaming Page.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - For the second straight Sunday, Danny Dion's Bear Stables struck paydirt in a 2-year-old stakes here at Woodbine.

Last week it was Bear's Kid, pulling off a surprising victory in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes in his first start for local trainer Reade Baker. This time, the bear of the hour was Bear Character, who won the seven-furlong Swynford in an upset for his Alberta-based trainer Dale Greenwood. Jim McAleney rode both winners.

Bear Character, a Kentucky-bred, had started four times at Northlands Park, becoming a stakes winner in the six-furlong Edmonton Juvenile, but was the 6-1 third choice in the field of four for the Swynford.

"I really expected this horse to run pretty good," said Greenwood, who checked in last Thursday with six runners that will be stabled here for the balance of the meeting.

"I've liked him all along. He got into traffic problems a couple of times on the bullring at home, and it probably cost him a couple of wins. The bigger racetrack here helped him."

Bear Character was just the second Woodbine starter for Greenwood, who had sent out the maiden Bear Kitty Cat to a seventh-place finish on Saturday.

"We had all these 2-year-olds at home, and nowhere really to run them," said Greenwood. "Danny spent a lot of money on these well-bred horses, and he deserves the chance to try them here."

Noble Stella romps off short rest

There was less drama to Sunday's supporting feature as Noble Stella romped to a 9 1/4-length victory in the Flaming Page under Emile Ramsammy as the 4-5 choice.

Noble Stella, owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Roger Attfield, had finished fourth just a week earlier in the Canadian, a Grade 2 stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The Flaming Page is an overnight stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

"She just did so well over the last week, it was worth taking a chance," said Attfield, of the quick comeback. "Sometimes these things work out right."

Noble Stella is scheduled to make her next start on Oct. 23, either at Keeneland in the 1 1/2-mile Dowager or here in the 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor.

Both turf stakes are for fillies and mares; the Dowager has a purse of $150,000, the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor is worth $1 million.

Coastal Fortress breaks through

Coastal Fortress had been a hard-luck filly this season, but she broke through in a big way here on Saturday with an impressive win under Todd Kabel in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette Stakes.

"Everything worked out according to plan," said trainer Barbara Minshall. "I thought she was going into the race really good. She had a really good trip, and a good ride."

Coastal Fortress, who was defeating fellow 3-year-old fillies in the open La Lorgnette, is scheduled to make her next start in the $125,000 Classy 'n Smart, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares here Oct. 10.

"She's in great shape, and I think she's as competitive as anybody in there," said Minshall.

Coastal Fortress was the 11th stakes winner of the meet for Kabel. The only other time he rode the filly was in a comfortable score in the 1 1/16-mile South Ocean here last November.

Arravale, Knights Templar work for Mazarine

Jockey David Clark, who leads all jockeys in stakes wins at the meet with 12,will be looking to add to that total with Arravale in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Mazarine.

Clark was in the irons on Saturday morning as Arravale breezed five furlongs in 1:01 over the main track in preparation for the Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies.

"She's always handled the dirt well," said trainer Mac Benson, who has sent out Arravale to wins in her first two career starts over the turf course, including the Grade 3 Natalma here Sept. 11.

Arravale, a Kentucky-bred, is owned by Bob Costigan.

Knights Templar, who also is heading for the Mazarine, worked six furlongs in 1:14.60 on the main track here Sunday under McAleney.

A Florida-bred trained by Danny Vella, Knights Templar finished eighth in her turf debut in the Natalma after winning the Ontario Debutante at six furlongs on the main track.

A Bit O'Gold and Jambalaya breeze

A Bit O'Gold and Jambalaya both breezed five furlongs on the main track here on Saturday for trainer Catherine Day Phillips. Regular rider Jono Jones was in the irons for both drills, with A Bit O'Gold going in 1:00.60 and Jambalaya in 1:02.40.

A Bit O'Gold is on target for Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Sky Classic, a 1 3/8-mile turf handicap for 3-year-olds and up, in which he is assigned 120 pounds.

Jambalaya is scheduled to make his next start at Belmont in either the Oct. 8 Jamaica or the Oct. 23 Lawrence Realization. Both turf races are restricted to 3-year-olds, but the 1 1/8-mile Jamaica has a purse of $300,000 while the 1 1/2-mile Lawrence Realization is worth just $75,000.

Sam-Son runners prep for stakes

Strut the Stage and Colorful Judgement, owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, worked seven furlongs in company over a "good" training-track turf course here Sunday in preparation for the Sky Classic.

Strut the Stage, a 7-year-old who is coming off a second-place finish in the Niagara, breezed in 1:27 under jockey Garry Cruise and is assigned 118 pounds for the Sky Classic.

Colorful Judgement, sixth in the Niagara, went in 1:27.40 under jockey Slade Callaghan and was weighted at 112 for the Sky Classic.