06/30/2003 12:00AM

Big-time 'Action' for small stable


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Owner Jerry Edelist has been in the racing game, on a small scale, for the majority of the past 30 years.

But until Dressed for Action emerged a nose winner here in Sunday's $166,500 Ontario Damsel, Edelist had yet to experience the thrill of owning a stakes winner.

"It's a great feeling," said Edelist, who races as Shoestring Stable and had watched Dressed for Action defeat eight other Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies in the 6 1/2-furlong turf race.

A daughter of Bold n' Flashy, Dressed for Action had finished second in two Ontario-sired stakes, the six-furlong Nandi on the main track here last July and the six-furlong Bold Ruckus on the turf last time out.

The filly is trained by Tony Mattine, who purchased her for $40,000 at the local select yearling sale.

Edelist has had horses with Mattine for some 25 years, one of their previous best being the stakes-placed Pomeroon in 1993.

"He's a great horseman," said Edelist, who had served as chairman at the anesthesiology department at the University of Toronto but now is retired.

"I'm not a hands-on owner," he said. "I pay the bills, and Tony does all the thinking."

Mattine, whose last stakes win came with the talented turf runner Jet Freighter here in the 1996 Izvestia, plans to nominate Dressed for Action to the $125,000 Passing Mood, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies here July 16.

"We'll see how she comes out of this race," Mattine said. "She's a handy little filly, and being Ontario-sired helps. Before, she used to stop, going six furlongs. Now, she gets six and a half.

"She can run on both dirt and turf, but she acts like she's better on turf."

Edelist's current two-horse stable is rounded out by Skier's Gift, a Florida-bred 3-year-old who finished second in his debut at Gulfstream March 1 and then won his maiden here in his next and last start March 23. Both efforts came in maiden-special-weight sprints.

Skier's Gift was sent to the farm shortly after his local opener but recently returned to training here and should see action later this summer.

Shippers sweep two stakes at Fort

Woodbine shippers brought home the $45,000 top prizes in two 1 1/16-mile stakes at Fort Erie Sunday, with Royal Dalliance capturing the H.A. Hindmarsh and Barbeau Ruckus taking the H.J. Addison Jr.

Royal Dalliance, a 6-year-old mare owned by Dave Hughes and John Godwin, was the first stakes winner for her trainer, Joanna Iglar-Hughes.

"She's always been a good-running filly," said Hughes, whose barn here consists of Royal Dalliance and one 2-year-old. "She tries every race. You can't knock her."

Royal Dalliance recorded her second win in a row under regular rider Na Somsanith and boosted her career bankroll to $434,547 with Sunday's score.

Iglar-Hughes is not certain of her stable star's next target.

"We'll nominate her to a few races," said the trainer, "and we'll put her in where we think she can do her best."

Barbeau Ruckus, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Thayalan Muthulingham and Jennifer Armata, recorded his fourth stakes win, all at 1 1/16 miles, while bringing his career bankroll to $465,321 for trainer Ross Armata.

"We're definitely going to keep him going two turns," the trainer said.

Barbeau Ruckus was ridden by Constant Montpellier, who pulled off a Woodbine-Fort Erie double Sunday.

Montpellier won the $79,400 second race here, aboard One for Rose. In the following race, he missed by a nostril aboard Stage Classic in the $89,000 allowance prep for the Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes.

The rider then hopped into his car along with his agent, Kelly Regan, for the 90-mile drive to Fort Erie, where he had to be in the jockeys' room one hour before post time for the Addison.

And Montpellier cut it close, arriving with five minutes to spare.

Diadella, Hot Talent work

Diadella and Hot Talent worked five furlongs on the turf training track here Sunday and are candidates for the Grade 3, $150,000 Dance Smartly, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares this Saturday.

Diadella went in 1:00.60 under David Clark, while Hot Talent was clocked in 1:00.40 under Todd Kabel

"I don't know whether they're both going to run, but they're both aiming in that direction right now," said Malcolm Pierce, who trains Diadella and Hot Talent for Stronach Stable.

Diadella has not raced since the fall, when she finished second here in the Canadian Handicap. She was injured during the running of that 1 1/8-mile turf race.

"I wouldn't have minded seeing her in a little allowance spot to get the season started," said Pierce, "but there's no such thing - she's out of conditions."

Hot Talent is coming off a disappointing seventh-place finish here over 1 1/16 miles of turf in the June 1 Nassau. She had won the off-the-turf prep for that race two weeks earlier.

"That was a little disappointing," Pierce said. "I ran her back a little quick off that prep race. It seemed like such an easy race on her that I jumped right back in the stake, and it wasn't too exciting."