Updated on 09/16/2011 8:42AM

It's Feathers's favorite season


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Fall is the time of year when many fillies and mares reach their peak. Feathers is a prime example. She won her first stakes in November 2000 in the Bessarabian Handicap, a race in which she finished second last year.

Feathers should be well backed in Sunday's renewal of the Grade 3 Bessarabian at Woodbine while coupled in a Ralph Biamonte-trained entry with Miss Sweep.

The seven-furlong stakes has also lured the Elliott Walden-trained, WinStar Farm-owned entry of Madame Red and Victory at Sea, who could be favored in the $166,800 race.

Feathers took the six-furlong Ontario Fashion Handicap for the second year in a row on Oct. 26, winning by a half-length over a sloppy track with her patented stretch kick. The race came just six weeks after she was diagnosed with the West Nile virus, according to Biamonte.

"She was lethargic for about four days after we worked her one day," Biamonte recalled. "She went off her feed, but was back to normal on the fourth day. She missed about a week of training."

Biamonte believes that Feathers is back on top of her game, and he anticipates another strong showing from her on Sunday.

"I think she's better than ever right now," Biamonte said. "Seven-eighths is probably better for her. She likes to make one run, and I hope there's two speed horses in there."

Miss Sweep is also in peak form. She closed from farther back than usual to finish third in the Ontario Fashion, much to Biamonte's satisfaction.

"I was going to run her in an allowance race," said Biamonte, "but I decided to put her in the Fashion, just in case I had to scratch Feathers. I thought she'd beat Feathers [in the Fashion], because of everything we'd been through with Feathers."

Madame Red is coming off two lackluster races south of the border. Trained by Bob Tiller, she captured the 2001 La Lorgnette Stakes and won a classified allowance here in May before she was sold to WinStar.

Victory at Sea led throughout a seven-furlong allowance at Arlington in September, and was recently a distant third in Arlington's Safely Kept Handicap, in which she helped set sizzling fractions over a muddy track.

Quiet Dare and Penthouse Prince head Sunday's supporting feature, the $108,000 Sunny's Halo Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

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