07/10/2009 12:00AM

Elated Moon the proven one

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Off of her strong showing in the open My Dear Stakes, Elated Moon merits top billing against Ontario-bred 2-year-old fillies Sunday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Shady Well Stakes.

Elated Moon, trained by Steve Asmussen, nosed out her stablemate Always Wildcatin' while taking her debut in a two-furlong maiden special here April 26. She runs 5 1/2 furlongs on Sunday.

"She showed her ability in the first race," said assistant trainer Hank Gensler. "She always seemed like kind of horse who would stretch out, and she came from off the pace going two furlongs."

When she resurfaced two months later in the five-furlong My Dear, Elated Moon tracked the leaders on the outside before ending up third behind favored Midst and the New York invader Franny Freud.

Gensler said he wasn't surprised by Elated Moon's My Dear performance.

"I really thought she'd run well in there," he said. "She trained great into it. Even with the layoff in between, she took it like an older horse. She pulled up on [Midst's] hip for a little while, and it looked like we had a shot, but Midst was tons the best."

Gensler thinks Elated Moon won't mind running back just two weeks after the My Dear.

"She sure came out of the race well," said Gensler. "She's got a good head on her. She's not real big, but she's put together very well. She travels real nice."

Maritime Passion should be an off-the-pace presence following her first-out score going five-eighths June 20. Ridden by Eurico Da Silva, she earned a 73 Beyer Speed Figure. Trainer Mike DePaulo said he anticipated a big race in her debut.

"She'd been training really well," said DePaulo. "I asked Eurico not to send her. She sat a little off the pace, and then came running. She was widening on them at the end."

DePaulo said Maritime Passion, an $80,000 weanling purchase by the hot Kentucky sire Stormy Atlantic, has all the right credentials to be productive runner.

"She's not a real big horse, but she's very athletic," said DePaulo. "She's got good legs and a nice pedigree. The family has really taken off since we bought her. Her half-sister Retraceable won the Princess Elizabeth Stakes last year."

DePaulo also noted that her dam's half-sister produced the winner of this year's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, Payton d'Oro.

Rounding out the field are Peploe, Shesadozer, Belle Valee, and Noticin' You, who each is coming off a maiden victory.