06/04/2001 11:00PM

It's Win City for Tiller - and on to the Plate


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Bob Tiller felt vindicated last Saturday after his charge Win City won his third consecutive stakes in the Plate Trial, the definitive prep for the Queen's Plate.

Tiller said he took some flack for running Win City in the nine-furlong Trial, since it was the gelding's fourth start in two months. It leaves him with a three-week gap until the June 24 Plate, a $1 million race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds.

"I think he silenced a lot of people," said Tiller. "I got a little heat for running him from certain so-called experts, who approached me a day or two before the race wondering why I was running."

After saving ground on the first turn, Win City closed four wide to take the Trial by 3 3/4 lengths over Millennium Allstar. The favorite, Win City covered the distance in 1:52.08.

"I was thrilled to see him run like that," Tiller said Sunday. "He came out of it absolutely wonderful. I'm so happy with the way he looks. There's absolutely no signs of stress."

Tiller lauded the connections of Millennium Allstar, a Sue Leslie-trained half-brother to Red Bullet, who was uncharacteristically taken well off the pace by Robert Landry. He trailed in the six-horse field after a half-mile before mounting an eye-catching bid along the rail, which was probably the best part of the track Saturday.

"I thought [Millennium Allstar] ran a big race," said Tiller. "Robert and Sue did a great job to get that horse to relax. I was impressed."

Brushing Bully, a Stronach Stable runner trained by Tino Attard, ran a very creditable race to finish third in the Trial in just his second start of the year.

Assistant trainer Kevin Attard said Brushing Bully had a setback after his lackluster seasonal debut in an optional claimer.

"He was pretty sick after his last race," Attard said. "He didn't really get much out of it. He's put on a lot of weight and has started to fill out. He worked pretty good coming up to this race. He's begun to turn the corner at the right time."

Stronach's other Plate possibility, Lucky Devil, faded to fifth after leading early over a muddy strip last Sunday in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special. "It was very disappointing," said Kevin Attard. "We didn't want to see him on the lead like that."

Lucky Scarab, a Sam-Son Farm runner trained by Mark Frostad, rallied from 10 lengths back to win that maiden race in a quick 1:45.32. Todd Kabel, who rode Sam-Son's late-blooming Scatter the Gold to win the 2000 Plate, was pleased with the Lucky Scarab's effort.

"He's a big, stupid horse, just like Scatter the Gold was," Kabel said. "But he showed a lot more talent [Sunday] than in his previous race. He was a little bit hesitant when he made his move, but when I finally got into him, he really kicked in."

Lucky Scarab could run coupled in the Plate with his royally bred stablemate Dancethruthedawn, the favorite for Saturday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

Maiden Wild Years in Plate

Trainer James Bond is planning to run his promising maiden Wild Years in the Plate with Richard Migliore as his rider.

Wild Years was second in his debut at Belmont May 20 in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special after acting up in the paddock and behind the starting gate. He was better behaved before a similar race Friday, in which he ended up second after carving out the fractions.

"He came out of his last race in good order," said Bond. "I'm going to evaluate him for the next week or so. He may ship up next week, and I'll let him work over the track once. I'll also school him in the paddock and at the gate."

Wake at Noon invades Belmont

Wake at Noon, the last horse to defeat Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Exciting Story, is slated to run in the Grade 2 True North Handicap, a six-furlong dash worth $150,000 at Belmont Saturday.

Wake at Noon beat Exciting Story two starts ago in the Jacques Cartier Stakes, but lost a neck decision to Exciting Story while spotting him nine pounds most recently in the Grade 3 Vigil Handicap.

"He's been training super," said trainer Abraham Katryan. "This will be his third start of the year, and I think he's peaking."

Katryan was disappointed with the result of the seven-furlong Vigil, but not by Wake at Noon's effort in the race. "I think the track condition worked against him," he said. "It was very deep. Exciting Story is a wonderful horse, but I think things would have been different if we had run against him on equal terms - on an even track and at level weights."

Poetically not ready for Oaks

Poetically, Canada's 2-year-old filly champion of 2000, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 here Tuesday morning but will not start in Saturday's Labatt Woodbine Oaks.

"She worked nicely, but I haven't quite got her where I'd like her to be," said Roger Attfield, who trains Poetically for Kinghaven Farm. "For the sake of one race, I don't want to knock her out for another two months. She's just starting to come back into form now."

Poetically, who had been hampered by a blood disorder this spring, has race just once, finishing third behind older rivals in a seven-furlong allowance race.

Attfield said Poetically could make her next start out of town or train up to the $250,000 Bison City, the 1 1/16-mile race at Fort Erie July 1 which follows the Oaks in the Canadian Triple Tiara series.

* Torrid Affair, who is a half-sister to Wild Years, is to run Saturday at Pimlico in the $75,000 Skipat, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares. A 4-year-old who also is owned by Kinghaven and trained by Attfield, Torrid Affair won the La Voyageuse here on the opening day of the meeting.

* Cryptic Response and Nymphenburg head a six-horse field of fillies and mares in Thursday's Woodbine feature, an $80,000 optional claimer with a $66,000 purse.

- additional reporting by Bill Tallon