06/17/2004 11:00PM

Clubay may have caught the bouquet


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Clubay, a bridesmaid in all three stakes she contested at the Fort last year, appears to have a caught a field she can master in Sunday's Rose City. The 6-year-old Clubay will face five rivals in the six-furlong Rose City, an "in-house" stakes restricted to fillies and mares who have made three starts at the track in 2003-2004. The purse is $40,000, with up to $20,000 extra for Canadian-bred horses.

Trained and partly owned by Ralph Biamonte, Clubay has won five races and has earned $315,144 in 32 races. Three of the victories were for Biamonte, who claimed her for $40,000 in September 2002 from Knob Hill Stable.

"It's the only time she has ever run for a tag," said Biamonte, who operates a double stable, one here and one at Woodbine. "There were three in for her. She's been very reliable and has never missed getting a check for us. She's a cut below being a good stakes horse, but she always tries."

Clubay will be making her second start of the year, after winning by 1 1/4 lengths in an optional claimer here at five furlongs June 5. With a Beyer Speed Figure of 76, she boasts the best 2004 Beyer Figure earned by any horse in the field.

Finishing second to Clubay was Low Key Affair, who has also been entered in the Rose City. Low Key Affair, 4, is one-half of owner-trainer Wendy Kruger's entry. The other is Nancy McWin, who got her maiden win May 30. Low Key Affair, a winner of three of 19 races, will be making her fourth start of the year. She was first-time Lasix in her last start, and on Sunday she will shed her blinkers. Last Sunday, Low Key Affair, an off-the-pace runner, drilled four furlongs in 47.20 seconds, the fastest of 23 works at the distance.

Daniel Wills will saddle Orientalspringhope for the Rose City. An 8-year-old owned by Marilyn Cook, Orientalspringhope has had this stakes as a target. Her one 2004 start was in a $50,000 claimer at Woodbine May 26, where she finished fifth. Orientalspringhope trailed that day until midstretch, where she began a strong rally and got within a length of third. "She seems to be like her old self," said Wills. Orientalspringhope pulled a huge upset here, at just under 44-1, last October. She ran down million-dollar earner Mysterious Affair in an allowance test and nailed her at the wire.

Simply Precious and Alittlebitgrumpy complete the field.