10/17/2001 12:00AM

Blinkers worked wonders for Inish Glora


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Inish Glora came east from British Columbia last month to try her hand at turf racing.

And while Inish Glora, a 3-year-old filly, got her first taste of Woodbine's E.P. Taylor course in the Sept. 29 Wonder Where Stakes, her trainer, Kathy Bremner, is hoping the rains will stop long enough to allow her filly a second trip over the grass in Friday's feature.

Bremner, who had started out on the racetrack in 1975 and groomed such British Columbia stalwarts as Mr. Prime Minister and Police Inspector, had left the track for the corporate world in the late 1980's before returning to the training game.

"I'm a hands-on trainer," said Bremner. "I mostly have a barn of two or three horses that need lots of work."

A case in point is Inish Glora, who was bred in Ontario but was purchased privately by owner Robert Costigan and sent to Bremner in Vancouver.

"We always knew she was a very nice filly," said Bremner. "We were fairly certain of her ability, from the first time she got loose on the racetrack."

Bremner's unusual compliment relates to the young Inish Glora's wayward ways.

"Her best works were without riders, going the wrong way on the racetrack," explained the trainer. "She was a real, real handful."

Inish Glora did not debut until Sept. 30, 2000 when she finished last of nine in the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy Stakes.

"We pretty much had the choice of running her over her head or running her short, and she's not a filly who wants to go five furlongs," said Bremner. "We just wanted a shot to get a few starts into her before putting her away for the winter."

Inish Glora started once more at 2, finishing eighth. But she took the first step toward rewarding the patience of her connections by winning her maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs in her second start this spring and has been on a steady upswing since then.

Bremner credits Fernando Serna, who had been Inish Glora's regular rider, with playing an important role in her development.

"He begged me to put blinkers on her," said Bremner. "She was having difficulty with focus. That's when she really turned the corner."

Serna, unfortunately, has not been around to enjoy the ride since piloting Inish Glora to her second win July 4, as he went to the sidelines with a broken ankle the following week.

Inish Glora went on to finish third in the Nanaimo at Hastings and second in the Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs before winding up her Vancouver campaign with a second-place finish behind the talented invader Collect Call in the British Columbia Oaks.

In the meantime, the Wonder Where had been on the back burner.

"Her breeding, and everything about her, made us look at that race," said Bremner. "We'd been hopeful about the Wonder Where all the way back to July."

And while Inish Glora finished fourth, beaten 6 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where, her trainer was thrilled with the performance.

"It was great," said Bremner. "She had a terrible setup into the race. She was supposed to be here two weeks before. She would have had time to settle in, and work on the grass. But her flight plans were canceled.

"She ended up getting here five days before the race, and went into the race without the work she needed."

Bremner had considered entering Inish Glora in the La Lorgnette, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies here last Sunday, but is not keen about running her on the main track.

"She doesn't care for the racing surface here at all," said Bremner. "We tried her on it several times in the morning. It's a much shallower surface in Vancouver."

So the trainer opted to wait for Friday's turf race, and will face another decision if the race is moved to the dirt.

Filly finally in racing shape

Bremner also is looking forward to the debut of Finvarra, a 2-year-old filly who is entered in Friday's third race.

Finvarra, a Florida-bred filly by Valid Expectations who was purchased by Costigan for $75,000 at Ocala in February, was in less than tip-top shape when she arrived on Bremner's doorstep.

"She was very sick," said the trainer. "She didn't travel well. I had to give her a couple of months off, but she's ready to run now."

Finvarra has worked twice since arriving at Woodbine on the same flight as Inish Glora.

In her first drill, Finvarra was clocked in 1:02.40 while working five furlongs from the gate in tandem with Foregone, a 2-year-old colt who is a half-brother to Queen's Plate winner Archers Bay.

Foregone, trained by Mac Benson, finished second to the well-meant Lakefield when he made his debut here at six furlongs Oct. 8.