08/08/2001 12:00AM

Derby rivals may meet again


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Stage Classic and Fancy As, the respective one-two finishers in Monday's Grade 3 Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs, may meet again Aug. 25 in the $100,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park, which is a Grade 3 race at 1 3/8 miles.

Stage Classic and Fancy As were three-quarters of a length apart at the end of the 1 1/8-mile Manitoba Derby.

Based in Ontario, Stage Classic raced outside of pacesetter Corporate Shuffle through slow fractions of 23.80 seconds, 49, 1:14.60, and 1:40, and then found another gear with an eighth of a mile left and held off Fancy As in 1:51.80.

"He ran the race I thought he would," said jockey Constant Montpellier "He made it easy on me."

Stage Classic, owned by trainer Dave Cotey in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith, recorded his first stakes victory and increased his earnings to $220,893 with the $60,000 winner's share.

The second-place finish ended a 10-race win streak for Fancy As, who is based in Alberta.

Corporate Shuffle, who faded to third, nine lengths behind Fancy As, lost for the first time in eight starts at Assiniboia Downs.

Command Start finished a neck behind Corporate Shuffle, with G and L Special the trailer.

For locally based Corporate Shuffle, Command Start, and G and L Special, the 1 1/8-mile Harry Jeffrey here Aug. 26 is next on the schedule.

* In Monday's other stakes, Kalfaari won his first stakes for his owner and trainer, Clint Willson, in the Wheat City. Ness Godall won his second stakes in as many starts in the Osiris Plate for the K-5 Stable and trainer Darla Singh, and Sassy Chimes won her third consecutive race here for owner-trainer Bill Smith in the Jack Hardy.

* Miss Sandy Dee won her first stakes in the Winnipeg Sun for the SEL Stable and trainer Patti Ross last Sunday.

* Last Saturday, Northern Cheyenne took the restricted North Dakota Stallion for owner-trainer Peter Davis.