07/25/2005 11:00PM

Big hopes for One Ring


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Ron Woods, who trained 2-year-old champion filly Brusque here in 2002, said he believes he has uncovered another diamond in the rough in One Ring, an impressive winner of her debut July 16 at Woodbine.

Brusque was purchased privately for $10,000 in Kentucky and was sold for a six-figure sum after winning the Grade 2 Mazarine. One Ring was a $20,000 purchase at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky last October.

But according to Woods, who owns One Ring in partnership with Debi Lockhurst, there is no comparison.

"Brusque was nowhere near this one," said Woods. "This is a different quality of animal. She's a special filly."

One Ring was sent to Ocala, Fla., after being purchased last fall and joined Woods and Lockhurst at Payson Park in mid-March.

"She had an air of a real good filly about her when I bought her," said Woods. "But when she came to us at Payson she was depressed and skinny. From day one, when we got her, she started picking up, going forward. She's progressed on a daily basis."

One Ring, who arrived at Woodbine in mid-April, began her career in a six-furlong maiden special.

"I was waiting to run her six furlongs; I didn't want her rushed," said Woods. "She trains like a filly who'll go on."

Although One Ring had not trained particularly swiftly, she had worked regularly in company and Woods said he was expecting a good effort.

"She only does enough to beat a horse, no more, and never by very far," said Woods. "She doesn't run away from anybody."

One Ring's problem in her debut was that the rest of the field ran away from her after she broke awkwardly and dropped back steadily through the early stages.

After making up ground to get within 15 lengths of the leader after a quarter-mile, 12 lengths behind the next-to-last horse in the field of eight, One Ring began closing under the rail under a patient Daniel David.

Still 10 lengths back with a half-mile to run, One Ring was up in time to score by a nose.

"It was remarkable," said Woods. "She ran her last quarter two seconds faster than her first."

One Ring's first stakes target will be the $125,000 Ontario Debutante, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies here Aug. 20. Woods is also looking down the road, to races such as Woodbine's Grade 3 Natalma and Mazarine and even the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park.

"I really believe she's the real deal," said Woods.

English fillies in two stakes

A pair of fillies from England will add some spice to a pair of stakes here over the long weekend.

Silver Highlight, a 3-year-old who is a maiden after five starts but is coming off a fourth in a listed stakes over 1 1/4 miles, will run in Sunday's $250,000 Wonder Where. Saint Etienne, a 4-year-old who is a listed stakes winner, will run in Monday's Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North.

The Wonder Where is a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, and the Royal North is a six-furlong turf handicap for fillies and mares.

Both Silver Highlight and Saint Etienne are trained by Andrew Balding but will be staying in Canada with Fort Erie-based trainer Edward Freeman.

Martin Dwyer, who rode Phoenix Reach to victory for Balding in the 2003 Canadian International, will ride both fillies.

Exercise riders Leanne Masterton, with Saint Etienne, and Cheryl Morris, with Silver Highlight, checked in with their respective charges Sunday evening.

Next step for High Blitz

High Blitz, runner-up to Judiths Wild Rush in the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture here July 9, will be going on the road for trainer Justin Nixon and Team Stronach.

Possibilities for High Blitz include two six-furlong races, the $60,000 Chesapeake at Colonial Downs on Aug. 6 and the $100,000 Teddy Drone on the Haskell undercard, which is also the next target for Judiths Wild Rush.

Bahen splits with agent

Jockey Steven Bahen and agent Alan Raymond have split after being a team for the last 16 years.

Their successes included a Queen's Plate win with T J's Lucky Moon in 2002.

Bahen now will be represented by Kelly Regan, who also books mounts for Sunny Singh. Raymond will continue to represent Martin Ramirez.