08/04/2005 11:00PM

Day Phillips seeks a repeat

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Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Jambalaya has improved greatly since being placed on turf two starts ago.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The fast-improving Jambalaya will try to give trainer Catherine Day Phillips her second straight victory in the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine.

The Breeders', for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, is the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. The first two winners in the series, Queen's Plate winner Wild Desert and Prince of Wales Stakes winner Ablo, have bypassed this 1 1/2-mile turf marathon.

Day Phillips, who won last year's Breeders' with A Bit O'Gold, purchased Jambalaya for a bargain $2,500 at the 2003 Keeneland September yearling sale.

"Physically, he wasn't a tidy package," Day Phillips said. "He had a lovely walk, but he had huge joints and giant feet."

Jambalaya finished a distant seventh in each of his main-track starts this year, before graduating on the grass. He captured a turf allowance most recently, closing three wide under jockey Jono Jones to win going away.

"We always liked him," Day Phillips said. "I had some Queen's Plate aspirations for him, but he had some complications with running on the dirt in the springtime. He's come into his own on the turf.

"The first time he worked on the turf, he really turned around," she said. "The first time he ran on the turf, I was expecting a big race from him, and he ran super. He also ran very well in his second [turf] start going a mile and three-eighths."

Day Phillips said Jambalaya has continued to train forwardly. Last weekend, he worked five-eighths over the training track in a bullet 59.80 seconds.

"He breezed very well on the dirt getting ready for this race," Day Phillips said. "He wasn't being asked, and galloped out strongly. He's always trained like he'll run forever."

Welcome Again, trained by Bobby Frankel for Stronach Stable, could be the main threat. He spent last winter at Santa Anita, where he ran second in a nine-furlong maiden special on the grass in April.

Welcome Again won his maiden with ease over a muddy track going 1 1/2 miles in a race scheduled for the grass here July 17. Assistant trainer Brian Lynch believes Welcome Again could be peaking for the Breeders'.

,"I couldn't be more happy with the way he's been training," Lynch said. "I can see the weight he's put on. I think he's an improved horse from his last race."

Two maidens are in the Breeders' field, Area Limits and Molinaro Beau.

Area Limits earned second money in each of his last three outings, including the Toronto Cup Handicap. His trainer, Roger Attfield, has won the Breeders' a record seven times.

Molinaro Beau has a dirt pedigree and is making his first start on the grass. He rallied from far back to finish fourth at 53-1 in the Queen's Plate.

"He ran well going a mile and a quarter over a very slow track in the Plate, so why not try him on the turf?" said trainer Phil England.

Front-runners Autumn Snow, Slew's Saga, and See the Wind should ensure a quick pace in the race, which will encompass one lap of the course.

Superfecta wagering will be offered on the Breeders'.