10/04/2004 12:00AM

Higher World's win opens Breeders' Cup door

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Higher World moved to the head of the class of local 2-year-old fillies by winning the Grade 2, $278,750 here Sunday in her stakes debut.

Higher World, a Kentucky-bred 2-year-old, won her maiden by 8 3/4 lengths in her second career start, which came at seven furlongs here Aug. 14.

The 1 1/16-mile Mazarine marked Higher World's first start in seven weeks, which, trainer Mark Casse said, had not been the plan.

Casse entered Higher World in the Natalma, a one-mile turf race here Sept. 12, but scratched her to in favor of the prep for the Mazarine at one mile and 70 yards on the main track later that week.

But the prep race did not fill, leaving Casse with no choice but to train her up to the Mazarine.

"The Mazarine had always been our major goal," said Casse, who trains Higher World for Seasoft Stable.

"From the beginning, we thought she was a pretty good filly. She trained really well."

Higher World will not race again this season, partly due to a lack of suitable options but also because Casse believes the nature of the racetrack would work against her.

"The harder the racetrack is, the more she likes it," said Casse. "She likes it much better than when it's cuppy.

"The farther we get into the meet, the tougher the racetrack will become for her."

Immediately after the Mazarine, Casse mentioned the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, at Lone Star Park Oct. 30, as a possible target for Higher World.

"We'll see how big the field's coming up, and whether she moves forward," said Casse. "I may be wrong, but I think she's a lot better horse than she showed today."

On Monday morning, however, Casse was less bullish about the prospect.

"It's a longshot right now," said Casse. "But, we'll see."

Seasoft Stable, a partnership headed by Sal Simeone, also has horses in New York with trainers Bill Mott and Michael Hushion. The group raced here prior to Sunday under the name of Triumph Racing Stable.

Simeone's other runners here with Casse include Time Saver, a Canadian-bred 2-year-old filly who was purchased privately this summer, and Honor the Legend, a Florida-bred 2-year-old colt who began his career at Saratoga with Mott.

Cut and Shoot to Lone Star Derby?

Higher World notwithstanding, Casse could find himself in Texas later this month with Cut and Shoot, an Ontario-bred 3-year-old colt whom he trains for Stonerside Stable.

Cut and Shoot is a candidate for the Grade 3, $150,000 Lone Star Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds on Oct. 29, and probably will run there in lieu of Sunday's Ontario Derby at Woodbine.

Cut and Shoot's last start, a 1 1/16-mile prep for the Ontario Derby, was his first around two turns, and he was defeated only a neck by the talented Organ Grinder.

The Ontario Derby, worth $150,000, is a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Sam-Son wins with 'other' horse

With Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad, sometimes you can't lose for winning.

While Strut the Stage finished last in the field of seven as the odds-on choice in Saturday's $275,250 Sky Classic, a Grade 2, 1 3/8-mile turf race, Colorful Judgement saved the day for both the trainer and owner, winning the race by a neck.

Strut the Stage, beaten a total of only 3 1/4 lengths, clearly did not show his true colors.

"He's had some allergy problems," said Frostad. "Hopefully, he'll get over that. He didn't run at all."

Strut the Stage was being considered a candidate for the Canadian International or the Breeders' Cup Turf going into the to the Sky Classic, and Frostad would not backtrack on that plan as of Monday morning.

"It depends on how he trains," said Frostad.

In the meantime, Colorful Judgement got his first graded stakes win and enhanced his status for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up here Oct. 24.

Wake at Noon third in comeback race

Wake at Noon, a 7-year-old who was making his first start in nine months and his first since sampling the life of a stallion this winter, finished third in a $76,100 allowance sprint here Sunday.

The winner was I'm the Tiger, a 4-year-old gelding owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Danny Vella.

I'm the Tiger had become a stakes winner in his previous start, the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture Handicap here July 11. His Beyer Speed Figure for Sunday's race was 107.

Wake at Noon, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, earned a 99 Beyer

"I think he ran a decent race," said Abraham Katryan, who trains Wake at Noon for owner-breeder Bruno Schickedanz. "I don't know if he was really tight enough.

"I was really happy with the way he came back."

Katryan is uncertain as to the next step for Wake at Noon.

"I would like, eventually, to go a mile and a sixteenth with him," said Katryan. "He's been moving very strongly going around the turns when he's training."

Stag Nation wins Cup and Saucer prep

Vella won a second lucrative allowance race on Sunday, with Stag Nation, a 2-year-old colt who he trains for Class Action Stable.

Stag Nation's win came in a $74,700 turf race that serves as a one-mile prep for the $250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes.

The Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds, will be run here Oct. 17. Stag Nation was supplemented to the Cup and Saucer at a fee of $5,000.