09/05/2002 11:00PM

Diadella goes for repeat win

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Diadella, upset winner of the Canadian Handicap last summer, will try to defend her title when she faces eight rivals at Woodbine on Sunday.

The Grade 2 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, has a purse of $281,250 and is the major local prep for the $750,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes, a Grade 1 race here Sept. 29.

Diadella, a 5-year-old owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Malcolm Pierce, has raced just once in 2002, scoring impressively in a one-mile turf allowance here July 21. "We've been waiting for this race for a while," said Pierce, who had hoped to run Diadella in the allowance prep for the Canadian but was stymied when the race failed to fill. "It's our last option to get to the E.P. Taylor."

Diadella will carry high weight of 118 pounds and be ridden for the first time by Todd Kabel, who replaces the injured David Clark.

Kabel was aboard for the filly's last two drills, including a brisk five furlongs in 57.20 seconds on the turf training course here last Sunday, and has studied tapes of all her races.

"She came out of her work in great order - we're going to go over there thinking we have a big chance to win," said Pierce.

"And, we do have the advantage of home course," Pierce added, noting that Diadella's six wins all have come on Woodbine turf.

Diadella may need to call upon every inch of that familiarity because of the presence of Calista, a 4-year-old who is coming off a sharp score in Rockingham's Aug. 4 Spicy Living over 1 1/8 miles of firm going. Calista is trained by Christophe Clement, who won the Nassau Stakes here this spring with Siringas. She will carry 117 pounds under Corey Nakatani.

Also shipping in for the Canadian is Caught Out, who once raced here for trainer Roger Attfield but has spent her last two campaigns with Michael Dickinson.

Leading the local opposition will be Noble Strike, trained by Ron Burke.

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