05/08/2002 11:00PM

Champions to do battle in Eclipse

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Win City, Canada's Horse of the Year in 2001, will meet last year's champion older runner, A Fleets Dancer, and four others in the Grade 3, $161,400 Eclipse Handicap at Woodbine on Saturday.

Win City missed the board for just the second time in his career two weeks ago, when he finished sixth in his season debut, the Grade 3 Vigil Handicap.

Trainer Bob Tiller said Win City was handcuffed by the seven-furlong distance of the Vigil, and felt he should be more effective running 1 1/16 miles Saturday.

"I wasn't totally devastated by the race," Tiller said. "He was in the one hole, and was only beaten 5 1/2 lengths. Sprinting really isn't his game."

Win City breezed five-eighths over the main track in 59.80 seconds last Monday, much to Tiller's delight. "It looked like he did it easily enough," Tiller noted. "I'm expecting a better race from him this time."

Constant Montpellier retains the mount on Win City, who was also voted the Sovereign Award as champion 3-year-old in 2001.

A Fleets Dancer, like Win City, will go over the $1 million mark in earnings if he wins the Eclipse. A 7-year-old, A Fleets Dancer captured the Grade 3 Durham Cup Handicap here in October, and also placed in three graded stakes in the United States last year, but he hasn't started since his poor effort in the Grade 3 Gallant Fox Handicap at Aqueduct on Dec. 29.

A Fleets Dancer, the 123-pound highweight, will be coupled in the Roger Attfield-trained entry with Sea Run, who was recently second in a conditioned allowance at Keeneland.

Completing the field will be Dream Launcher, Lil Personalitee, and On the Game, who all figure to race in close proximity to the early lead.

Dream Launcher, winner of the 2001 Victoria Park Stakes, should be the pacemaker in his second start off an extended layoff. Audre Cappuccitti trains.

Lil Personalitee, recently second in the allowance prep for the Eclipse, came up with a foot problem earlier this week, according to his trainer, John Cardella.

"He has a pus pocket in his right hind foot," Cardella said Wednesday. "We had him in a tub with hot water and Epsom salts, and then we put a medication pack on the opening to help drain the pus out.

"The blacksmith is going to put a $350 patch on it, and hopefully we'll make the race."

On the Game had a successful winter campaign in Florida for trainer David Bell, who sent him out to finish fourth in the April 27 Vigil.

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