09/17/2004 12:00AM

Irish Glora no longshot


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Inish Glora was sent off at 10-1 when she convincingly won last year's Grade 2 Canadian Handicap, the 1 1/8-mile turf race that is one of the supporting features on Atto Mile Day.

But Inish Glora, who went on to win the Sovereign Award as Canada's champion turf filly or mare of 2003, will be the one they're all trying to beat this time around. She will tote high weight of 121 pounds while facing eight other fillies and mares in a Canadian worth $280,500.

"She couldn't be coming into the race any better," said Mac Benson, who trains Inish Glora for owner Bob Costigan.

Inish Glora has been judiciously spotted this season, and her campaign has yielded almost maximum dividends. Her lone defeat in four starts was a second-place finish to Mona Rose in the Grade 3 Dance Smartly at 1 1/8 miles on yielding turf here July 17.

"That was a little disappointing," said Benson, who believes that the off going, combined with Inish Glora's concession of 10 pounds to the winner as the 122-pound highweight, were reasons for the defeat. "But, she came back and vindicated herself in the Victoriana."

Inish Glora, who had forced or set most of the pace in her first three starts this year, relaxed nicely in third place under regular rider Todd Kabel through the early stages of the 1 1/16-mile Victoriana. She took charge in the stretch for a 2 1/2-length tally over firm turf.

"I'd like to see some speed set up in this race," said Benson. "I won't hesitate to be the speed, but I hate it when I have to be."

Mona Rose became a stakes winner in the Dance Smartly, her third victory in as many starts this year.

A 4-year-old owned and bred by Paul and Frank O'Brien and trained by Earl Barnett, Mona Rose journeyed to Saratoga for her next start and finished a wide fifth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths, in the Grade 3 Ballston Spa at 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf.

Regular rider Eurico da Silva, who did not make the trip to Saratoga, will be back aboard Sunday as Mona Rose gets in with 114 pounds.

Rounding out the Canadian field will be locally based Classic Stamp, Raylene, and Heyahohowdy, plus U.S. invaders Madeira Mist, Binya, Spin Control, and Noisette.

Madeira Mist, the second highweight at 119 pounds, shipped in to win last year's Dance Smartly. Her trainer, Christophe Clement, and jockey, Corey Nakatani, captured the 2002 Canadian with Calista.