08/31/2002 12:00AM

Full of Wonder rallies wide to win Niagara

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Full of Wonder notched his first stakes victory Saturday in the Grade 1, $324,400 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap at Woodbine.

"He ran a very powerful race," said winning rider Todd Kabel. "It seems like the farther he goes, the better it is for him."

Full of Wonder trailed the nine-horse field early in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, as Stage Classic led while being pressed by Attest, Sumati, and Moontazz.

Perfect Soul, the more fancied half of the favored entry with Muntej, loomed into contention on the far turn, as Full of Wonder was in the midst of his wide rally. Perfect Soul hit the front at the top of the stretch, but was collared at the eighth pole by Full of Wonder, who edged away to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:26.18 over firm ground. Muntej finished third.

Full of Wonder ($5.30) earned $201,240. He was coupled in the Mark Frostad-trained, Sam-Son Farm entry with his full brother, Strike Smartly, who finished fourth.

Saffron Dancer takes Flaming Page

Saffron Dancer ($16.60) closed from third to capture Saturday's supporting feature for fillies and mares, the $107,000 Flaming Page Stakes.

Libretto finished second after setting the fractions in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, while favored Catch the Ring rallied to be third. The final time was 2:27.17.

There was a stewards' inquiry, regarding whether Saffron Dancer carried the assigned weight from the paddock to the gate, but the order of finish was left unchanged.

Slade Callaghan rode Saffron Dancer for trainer Mike Doyle.