10/20/2003 11:00PM

Forever Grand states his case


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Lost amid the excitement of the Canadian International and E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday was another scintillating performance by Forever Grand, winner of the Grade 3 Highlander Handicap.

Owned by his trainer, Bob Tiller, in partnership with Frank DiGiulio, Forever Grand won his fourth stakes of the year, enhancing his credentials for a Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding sprinter.

Forever Grand, a 4-year-old gelding, won the six-furlong New Providence and the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton, both stakes restricted to Ontario-sired runners, and won the six-furlong Kenora, a yearling sales stakes, in his start before the six-furlong Highlander.

In both the Kenora and the Highlander, Forever Grand rallied from seemingly hopeless position to win going away after rapid early fractions took a toll on the leaders.

There is only one sprint stakes left for the division: the six-furlong Kennedy Road on Nov. 29, the penultimate day of the meeting. But the Sovereign Award ballots will have been tabulated long before then.

To be eligible for Sovereign Award consideration, a horse must have made three starts in Canada this year by Nov. 16. The voters will receive their ballots on Nov. 18 and must return them by 5 p.m. on Nov. 21.

Tiller seeks 12th stakes win

Forever Grand's Highlander was the 11th stakes win of the year for Tiller, and the meet-leading 28th stakes win for jockey Todd Kabel.

And Tiller has a solid chance to add to that total here Saturday with Winter Garden, who is the one to beat in the $125,000 Ontario Fashion.

A Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly who is owned by DiGiulio, Winter Garden is coming off a sharp win over the talented older rival One for Rose in a seven-furlong classified allowance, when she was ridden for the first time by David Clark.

Winter Garden will be facing older rivals again in the Ontario Fashion, a six-furlong handicap for which she has been assigned second highweight of 119 pounds.

Twisted Wit eyes Coronation

Tiller is also looking forward to the $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Nov. 1, in which he plans to run Twisted Wit for owner Rolph Davis.

Twisted Wit won his first three starts, including the six-furlong Vandal for Canadian-breds and the seven-furlong Simcoe, a yearling sales stakes.

In his fourth outing, in the Grade 2 Grey at 1 1/16 miles, Twisted Wit finished fourth in open company.

Tusayan wins, takes vacation

Tusayan concluded his 2003 campaign here Saturday, defeating older rivals in the $144,750 Bunty Lawless over one mile on "good" turf.

An Ontario-bred 3-year-old colt owned by his trainer, Laurie Silvera, and Srinivas Kilambi, Tusayan won his third of nine starts in the Bunty Lawless. All his victories are in Ontario-sired stakes races.

"That's it for the season," said Silvera. "He's done enough, and has rewarded us adequately."

The $86,850 winner's share of the Bunty Lawless purse boosted Tusayan's bankroll to $272,958.

Tusayan won his maiden in the six-furlong Bold Ruckus over soft turf and notched his second win in the one-mile Vice Regent over good turf. Both stakes were for 3-year-olds.

Secretariat Day on Nov. 1

The Coronation will share top billing on the Nov. 1 card with the Grade 3, $175,000 Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares.

That day also will be "Secretariat Saturday" here at Woodbine, in honor of Secrertatiat's final career appearance, in the Canadian International here on Oct. 28, 1973.

Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery, and jockey, Ron Turcotte, will be on hand from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to sign commemorative posters.

LongRun, a Thoroughbred retirement facility, will be bringing in Secretariat's son Time Alert for the occasion and there will be an auction of memorabilia on the second floor of the grandstand.

In addition, the first 2,000 customers who present a coupon that will be published in several local newspapers will receive a free DVD, "The Life and Times of Secretariat."

Thursday's card: Gavro looks tough

Stakes-placed Gavro appears to have found an allowance field he can handle in Thursday's eighth race at Woodbine, a seven-furlong turf dash worth $61,600.

Gavro showed promise last year at 2, when he finished second in his debut at Saratoga. Trainer Nick Zito subsequently ran him here on the grass in the $250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes, in which the colt finished a troubled third behind the talented twosome of Mobil and Shoal Water.

Gavro joined trainer Alec Fehr's Woodbine string in the spring, and finally graduated in a seven-furlong maiden special over good ground Aug. 17. He finished second to a sharp Festive Spirit going a mile two starts ago, but found six furlongs too short for him when he ran fourth in another preliminary allowance Oct. 10.

Gavro will compete at seven furlongs on turf Thursday, in a relatively weak field. Richard Dos Ramos will ride for owner-breeder Knob Hill Stable.

Among other contenders in the race are Obliquity, who trailed in a five-horse field last week on dirt in the restricted Deputy Minister Stakes, and his entrymate, Dance Apollo, a recent maiden winner.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink