05/21/2001 12:00AM

DiMarco taking his time this year


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - At this time last year, Gallop'n Gold was struggling on the Queen's Plate trail for owners Patrick and Paul Boissonneault and trainer John DiMarco.

As a stakes winner of $183,146 as a

2-year-old, Gallop'n Gold had entered his 3-year-old season with high expectations but disappointed badly in four starts before being withdrawn from Plate consideration.

"He wound up with three quarter cracks and a blood disorder," said DiMarco. "We spent all year fighting that. It was a nightmare."

Gallop'n Gold did rebound late in the season, finishing second in both the Deputy Minister at seven furlongs and under allowance terms at 1 1/16 miles. And judging by his 2001 bow, in which he was a rallying runner-up at six furlongs, the gelding should make an impact here in Sunday's New Providence.

"Last year, with all the commotion with the Plate, we might have tried to do too much with him too soon," said DiMarco. "This year, we took our time with him.

"He's still got some patches, but the quarter cracks have all grown out, and his blood is cleaned up. We're hoping to stick to Ontario sire stakes for him."

DiMarco is hoping a good performance in the 6 1/2-furlong New Providence will send on Gallop'n Gold to the 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth, another Ontario sire stakes here, on May 30.

"I believe his best race is a mile and a sixteenth," said DiMarco, "but he can sprint, too. He has tactical speed. He can stalk the pace."

Turner's Hall going long again

Turner's Hall stamped herself as a filly to watch this year with her second-place finish to Poetically, who went on to be named Canada's champion 2-year-old filly, in last fall's Ontario Lassie.

A daughter of Forest Wildcat owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk and trained by Ron Burke, Turner's Hall was making just her third career start and her first around two turns that day.

On Monday, she will again be stretching out to 1 1/16 miles for the Grade 1 Selene with a six-furlong opener under her belt. Burke remains high on the filly, despite her second-place finish as the odds-on choice in that race, an April 29 allowance.

"I was kind of hurrying her when I went into that race," said the trainer. "I suspected she might have been a work short, but I thought her class might have taken her through."

Turner's Hall came close to carrying the day but was unable to fend off the late rush of Lite in the Night, who had wintered in Florida and had already started at this meeting.

"I wasn't disappointed," said Burke. "She just ran like a horse who needed a race."

The Selene is the final local stakes stepping-stone to the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred fillies here June 9. Turner's Hall is one of 52 horses who remain eligible for the Oaks, which also is the first leg of Canada's Triple Tiara.

"The Oaks is in the plans," said Burke, "but we'll have to see how she handles this race, and how she comes out of it. She might want to be a sprinter."

Heading the Selene lineup is Treasureinmyhand, who is undefeated in three starts for Sam-Son Farm, including a 9 1/4-length romp here in the seven-furlong Fury. Treasureinmyhand is trained by Mark Frostad, who also will send out recent maiden winner Penny Perfect for Anderson Farm and Rod Ferguson.

The field for the Selene also includes American invaders Transcendental, trained by Jim Bond, and Giving Noreen, trained by Elliott Walden.

Everybody's happy

Highland Legacy, Canada's champion 2-year-old male and one of the leading candidates for the June 24 Queen's Plate, prepped six furlongs in 1:15.20 on a fast main track here Friday morning

Working on his own under regular rider Emile Ramsammy, Highland Legacy was clocked in 49.80 seconds for his first four furlongs and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:30.20

"The rider was happy, I'm happy, and the horse is happy," said Steve Owens, who trains Highland Legacy for the Empress Stable of his wife, Beverly, and mother-in-law, Mildred Lewis.

Highland Legacy has seen action just once this spring, finishing a distant third in the seven-furlong Queenston. He is slated to make his next appearance in either the May 30 Steady Growth or the June 2 Plate Trial, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

Another cool breeze

Dancethruthethedawn, the talented Sam-Son Farm filly who suffered minor injuries during her rough trip in the Kentucky Oaks, also drilled over the main track, breezing five furlongs in 59.60.

"It was quicker than I thought," said assistant trainer Hugh Chatman, who was aboard for the drill. "I was looking for a minute and change, 1:01, but she did it pretty nice.

"She's great. Everything went perfect."

Dancethruthedawn is nominated to both the Labatt Woodbine Oaks and the Plate Trial.