10/24/2004 11:00PM

Frankel-Velazquez a winning combo


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It's certainly not often that trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey John Velazquez team up together here at Woodbine.

But when that confluence does occur, good things can be expected, as was the case when Commercante captured the Grade 1, $750,000 by a half-length here Sunday.

Frankel and Velazquez, who later finished fifth in the Canadian International with King's Drama, had last joined forces here in 2000 and won the $1 million Atto Mile with Riviera.

Frankel did not have another starter here until Sunday.

Velazquez is a slightly more frequent visitor, having last appeared here in 2002 when he rode Texas Glitter to a third-place finish in the Nearctic Handicap.

Taylor may impact Sovereign Awards

The Taylor subplot featured a race-within-a-race for the locally based contestants, with a Sovereign Award in the filly-mare turf category possibly at stake.

The winner on that specific count was Classic Stamp, who was beaten just a neck for second place by Punctilious and finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of fourth-place finisher Samando, a 4-year-old filly who was coming off a Group 2 win in France.

Mona Rose also acquitted herself well, finishing fifth, beaten just three lengths and just a nose shy of fourth money.

Inish Glora, Canada's reigning champion turf mare, was a late scratch after twisting an ankle.

Classic Stamp, Mona Rose, and Inish Glora all could meet up here Nov. 6 in the $97,000 River Memories, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares. All are expected to be nominated.

The River Memories is not part of the guaranteed stakes program, however, and there is the possibility that the race could come off the turf, as it did last year.

Cliff Hopmans, who conditions Classic Stamp for owner-breeder Bill Sorokolit, said the 4-year-old Classic Stamp also is a candidate for the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 20. The Cardinal, a 1 1/8-mile turf race, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

Earl Barnett, who trains Mona Rose, said a decision on whether to run Mona Rose in the River Memories or put her away for the season would be the domain of her owner-breeders, Paul and Frank O'Brien.

Eurico Rosa da Silva, Mona Rose's regular rider, believed Mona Rose would have finished fourth had she not been forced to check in midstretch.

Rosa da Silva claimed foul against Punctilious, as did the riders of Samando and Heyahohohowdy for a separate incident, but there was no change in the order of finish.

Mac Benson, who trains Inish Glora, would like to try the mare in the River Memories, where a win would boost her career earnings past the $1 million career mark.

If Inish Glora does not bounce back quickly from her recent setback, however, the 6-year-old - who already is slated to be bred next spring - probably has run her last race.