12/02/2004 12:00AM

Brass in Pocket ends career with bang

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Brass in Pocket, a winner of 14 races, may be bred to Speightstown.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Brass in Pocket made her final career start a winner at Woodbine on Wednesday night, taking the $129,000 Classy 'n Smart Stakes for the third year in a row.

Brass in Pocket barely worked up a sweat in the 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares. As expected, she went right to the front under Todd Kabel and never looked back, getting home on top by three lengths as the odds-on favorite.

Brass in Pocket, trained throughout her career by Bob Tiller, retires with 14 wins and 19 in-the-money finishes from 24 starts, for earnings of $1,146,023.

Owner Frank DiGiulio Jr. said he hopes to breed Brass in Pocket to this year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, Speightstown, who spent his formative years at Woodbine.

"She means a lot to us," DiGiulio said. "We lost her dam a couple of years ago, so this is extra special. She's got a lot of quirks, and Bob's done a great job with her."

The stakes win was Kabel's 35th this year in Ontario, all of them at Woodbine, which leaves him one win shy of Avelino Gomez's Ontario-wide record of 36 set in 1966.

"I felt she was the best horse in the race, and she showed that she was," Kabel said. "She's been a great mare, and I'm going to miss her. She always comes out and gives you 100 percent."

Owners expect to sell Winter Garden

Brass in Pocket is scheduled to ship out Saturday morning to the nearby farm of Ron Clarkson, where she will join her recently retired former stablemate, Winter Garden.

A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old owned by DiGiulio, Winter Garden had her career cut short by injury this fall and heads for the breeding shed with 12 wins, 17 in-the-money finishes, and earnings of $902,788 from 18 career starts.

Tiller said the plan calls for Winter Garden to be sold, in foal, at Keeneland next fall.

Tiller takes aim at personal best

Brass in Pocket was the 15th stakes winner of the meeting for Tiller, who will finish as the leader in that category.

Tiller, last year's Sovereign Award-winning trainer, also won 15 stakes here in 2003 and will have a chance to establish a new personal best before this meeting grinds to a halt Dec. 12.

His best shot on that front appears to be with Dave the Knave in the $125,000 Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds here closing day.

"We'll breeze him on the weekend," said Tiller. "If we think he's going to go long, we'll take a shot."

Dave the Knave, owned by Tiller and DiGiulio, is undefeated in two starts, including a neck score in the 6 1/2-furlong Sunny's Halo here Nov. 27.

Enough Is Enough, who won the seven-furlong Frost King but then finished fourth as the even-money choice in the Sunny's Halo, will be looking to redeem himself in the Kingarvie.

"He tried, but he didn't run his race," said trainer Steve Attard, who owns Enough Is Enough in partnership with John Milloy and Sheldon Pettle.

"He came out of it full of mucus. We're treating him with antibiotics. If he's all right we could give it a shot, and run him back."

Chris's Bad Boy heads Kennedy Road

Tiller also trains two of the nominees for the Dec. 11 Kennedy Road, Twisted Wit and Fantastic Day, but he might not have a runner in that race. Sixteen horses are eligible for the $125,000, six-furlong stakes.

Twisted Wit, owned by Rolph Davis, has been sent to the farm after finishing a disappointing fifth in the six-furlong allowance prep for the Kennedy Road here last Saturday.

Fantastic Day, owned by DiGiulio, finished fourth in that prep, but Tiller is skeptical about running him in the Kennedy Road.

"He's a big maybe," said Tiller. "He's probably not good enough."

The leading candidates for the Kennedy Road are Chris's Bad Boy, a sharp winner of the prep for owner Alpine Stable and trainer Vito Armata, and I'm the Tiger.

Owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Danny Vella, I'm the Tiger bypassed the prep and worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds here Friday.

Exercise rider Mickey Walls was aboard for the drill over the "good" main track.

"I'll blow him out three-eighths of a mile, three days out from the race, if the track permits," said Vella. "But, it's not a necessity. He's ready."

Coastal Fortress to skip Lassie

Coastal Fortress, who was among the leading candidates for Sunday's $125,000 Ontario Lassie, will not be participating in that 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Barbara Minshall, who sent out Coastal Fortress to win the 1 1/16-mile South Ocean over fellow Ontario-sired fillies here Nov. 10, is in the process of closing up shop here and will be wintering at Minshall Farm in Florida.

River Nore draws attention

River Nore was an eye-catching winner here Wednesday, scoring by 12 1/2 lengths in a seven-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

By Archers Bay out of the Black Tie Affair mare First Prom, River Nore is a homebred who races for the Ormonde Farm of David Butler.

River Nore was making just her second start, having finished a closing fifth at five furlongs here Sept. 5 for trainer Reade Baker.

"She bucked her shins the first time we ran her," said Baker. "I didn't really like her that much last night; I didn't think she was fit enough."

Baker, who still has 20 potential entrants for the last seven days of this meeting, will be spending the winter at Palm Meadows, where he has 20 stalls.

Among them will be Bosskiri, an Ontario-sired 2-year-old filly who was undefeated in two starts, including the six-furlong Nandi Stakes, before being sidelined here this summer.

- additional reporting by Bill Tallon