08/27/2001 12:00AM

Boulanger makes Nymphenburg tough


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Nymphenburg, an impressive winner of the Aug. 6 Victoriana Stakes, should take the bulk of the betting action in Wednesday's Woodbine headliner, a $100,000 optional claimer on the grass.

The one-mile race has attracted five other fillies and mares - Cozy Up Doc, Knight Dancer, Love a Ruckus, Cascada Alta, and Mema's Turning Red.

Nymphenburg had a few undesirable trips during the spring, when she ran second three times, including in the Ontario Matron Handicap. Trainer Jerry Meyer moved her to the grass for the July 7 Dance Smartly Handicap, and she rallied extremely wide to finish only two lengths back of Alexis in sixth.

Meyer hired Gary Boulanger to ride Nymphenburg most recently in the Victoriana, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired runners. Boulanger, who rides the E.P. Taylor turf course as if he designed it, guided Nymphenburg to the rail for the stretch run after rating her in a stalking position. She drew clear with authority after she found a hole at the eighth pole, and got home on top by three lengths.

"She's an exceptional filly," said Boulanger, who also won Sunday's Ontario Colleen Handicap aboard Soundtrack. "I really didn't know that much about her. I'd been on her once in the morning. I breezed her on the grass, and she really impressed me that day. (Meyer) basically told me to get her in the bridle early, and let her know she's in the race. She broke sharp, and I got to sit there and bid my time. I had a lot of horse in the middle of the turn, and it was just a matter of what hole opened up."

Boulanger retains the mount on Nymphenburg, who will make her second start with Lasix on Wednesday. She is owned by Knob Hill Stable.

Knight Dancer set slow, uncontested fractions in the Victoriana, and ran the race of her life to end up second. A daughter of top turf sire Ascot Knight, she has been first or second in all four of her 2001 outings for trainer Tom O'Keefe. Jockey Todd Kabel has the call.

Cozy Up Doc could be the sleeper in her first middle distance outing since the spring. She wasn't up to snuff facing some formidable opposition in her last two starts, in the Grade 3 Royal North Handicap and its allowance prep.

But Cozy Up Doc has run some superb races at a mile in the past, and should have a good stalking trip here under Patrick Husbands. Sid Attard trains.

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