07/15/2001 11:00PM

Filly seeks fourth in a row


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Highland Mood will try to extend her unbeaten record to four races Wednesday at Woodbine in the $104,400 Passing Mood Stakes, a seven-furlong turf dash for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Highland Mood was dismissed at 26-1 when she made her debut in a six-furlong maiden special on the main track May 23, and pressed the pace en route to a daylight score. Her two subsequent races were both on the grass. She came from just off the pace to win a six-furlong preliminary allowance with ease June 6, earning a 92 Beyer Figure in the process.

Most recently, on July 2, in the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Damsel Stakes, Highland Mood battled on the lead through quick fractions under regular rider David Clark. She assumed command at the top of the stretch, and fought off several challenges in the drive to prevail by a half-length.

"She was very game in the Damsel," said Bob Tiller, Woodbine's leading trainer. "She really dug in when David got after her. She's got a big heart."

Tiller isn't concerned about the extra half-furlong in Wednesday's race, and expects another big effort from Highland Mood.

"She has to carry 122 pounds," he said. "But I think she can handle it. She should be tough again."

Tiller believes Highland Mood, a daughter of Highland Ruckus, is typical of many of her sire's offspring.

"She's very laid back," he said. "You could shoot a cannon off beside her, and she'd just stand there. The Highland Ruckus' have a tendency to be that way. They'll sleep on you in the mornings. She's not a work horse, so I wasn't real high on her before she ran. So far, she's been a pleasant surprise."

Highland Mood is owned by Hali Stable and Norseman Racing Stable.

Rounding out the Passing Mood lineup are Fool's Jade with Na Somsanith aboard; Moonlight Affair, Emile Ramsammy; Royal Ascot, Gerry Olguin; Marjorie Daw, Jono Jones; Crumpet, Constant Montpellier; and Devastating, Frank Todd Jr.

Moonlight Affair, a Stronach Stable runner trained by Tino Attard, is trying the grass for the first time. Her dam, Mooncoin, ran twice on turf, with the best result being a third-place finish in the Natalma Stakes.

Mountain Angel, victorious in the Ontario Matron Handicap in her most recent start, heads a five-horse field of fillies and mares in the supporting feature on the card, a $100,000 optional claimer.

Mountain Angel, a close second in the 2000 Canadian Oaks, has won both of her races this year for Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad.