06/30/2003 11:00PM

Bison City ends in dead heat

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Seeking the Ring and Brattothecore battled nostril-to-nostril down the long stretch at Fort Erie on Tuesday in the $250,000 Labatt Bison City.

Both fillies deserved to win and, in a fitting conclusion, both did win - because a photo finish could not separate the two of them in the 1 1/16-mile race, which is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara for 3-year-old fillies.

Too Late Now won the opening leg of the series, the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, but never hit her best stride in the Bison City, finishing third, 3 3/4 lengths behind the winners. She was the 123-pound highweight and 4-5 favorite.

Seeking the Ring, with jockey Slade Callaghan in the irons for the first time, seized the early advantage after breaking from the inside post and was quickly joined by Santerra as she went slightly wide around the clubhouse turn.

Brattothecore, ridden by Jake Barton, moved to the rail entering the backstretch and stalked Seeking the Ring and Santerra, who began to fade around the final turn.

Brattothecore then moved boldly to engage Seeking the Ring and the two raced in tandem to the finish.

Seeking the Ring, the 3-2 second choice, owned by Sam-Son Farm and trained by Mark Frostad, scored her first stakes victory.

Brattothecore, owned by Jam Jar Racing Stable and trained by John Ross, was sent off at 6-1 after finishing fourth in the Oaks.

Brattothecore and Seeking the Ring were clocked in 1:44.03 in the Bison City. Each earned $100,000.

Seeking the Ring returned $3.10 to win, Brattothecore $6.10.

Trust Her wound up fourth, with Santerra and Miss Filibuster completing the order of finish.

* Rare Friends, who found himself on an uncontested lead when Olympian stumbled badly at the start, went on to dominate his four rivals in the $65,000 Parnitha, scoring by five lengths in the second of two six-furlong supporting features.

Rare Friends was clocked in 1:10.03 under Robert Landry and returned $3.10.

* Roman Romance became a stakes winner in the $66,000 Centre Stage Anne, rallying from just off the pace and winning by a two lengths.

Ridden by Constant Montpellier and trained by John Simms, Roman Romance ran the six furlongs in 1:11.03 and paid $3.10. The victory raised her career bankroll to $312,817.