09/18/2002 11:00PM

Handpainted goes for title


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - There could be a lot at stake for unbeaten Handpainted in Saturday's $276,500 Mazarine Breeders' Cup Stakes.

A decisive victory by Handpainted would make her a virtual shoo-in for the Sovereign Award as champion 2-year-old filly, and would likely earn her a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Arlington on Oct. 26.

Handpainted hasn't really been tested in any of her three races, in which she's failed to crack 80 on the Beyer Speed Figure scale. Her last two scores both came in stakes, the five-furlong My Dear and the six-furlong Ontario Debutante.

Handpainted has a license to successfully negotiate the stretchout to 1 1/16 miles on Saturday. A daughter of stamina sire A.P. Indy, she is out of Daijin, who won the 1 1/16-mile Selene Stakes. Daijin is a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and 1989 Canadian horse of the year With Approval.

"She has the pedigree to run long, and my gut tells me that she will," said trainer Josie Carroll. "She trains nice and easy, and doesn't seem to get tired. She's trained well into this race."

Carroll was noncommittal about the Breeders' Cup for Handpainted, who is owned by prominent breeders John and Glenn Sikura.

"We're going to take it one step at a time," Carroll said. "We'll see how she handles two turns before we look at the next step."

Also entered in the Grade 2 Mazarine were New York shippers Collymore Hall and Miss Mary Apples; Alberta invader Raylene; and locals Mountain Dawn, Brusque, Curiosity, and Island Refrain.

Mountain Dawn is a half-sister to Early Wisdom, who won the 1 1/8-mile Col. R.S. McLaughlin Handicap last Saturday. She was a close second two starts ago in the Shady Well Stakes, and was recently fourth as the favorite in the Muskoka Stakes, which was her first outing in two months.

According to trainer Mac Benson, Mountain Dawn was a little short of fitness for the seven-furlong Muskoka.

"She missed a work going into her last race due to the fire," said Benson, who was stabled in Barn 7A, which burned down on Aug. 4. "I didn't have her exactly where I wanted her, but I decided to run her, and I'm not sorry I did. She wasn't on the bridle during the early part of the race, and when she finally got on the bridle, it was too late. She was coming on, and got to those horses a few jumps past the wire."

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