07/31/2008 12:00AM

Marina Ballerina relaxed and ready


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Marina Ballerina has been pointed toward Saturday’s $150,000 Royal North Stakes since she arrived at Woodbine, and she looks like the one to catch in the six-furlong turf event for fillies and mares.

Marina Ballerina has started three times since joining trainer Sam DiPasquale’s barn in March. She flashed brief speed before fading to eighth in the April 20 Whimsical Stakes, but she showed more stamina when sixth in another Grade 3 stakes on Polytrack May 11, the Hendrie.

Up next for Marina Ballerina was the Repercussion Stakes, which serves as the prep for the Royal North. She relished the yielding ground in that 6 1/2-furlong dash, and made all the running en route to a comfortable win.

With blinkers off Marina Ballerina and Justin Stein riding, DiPasquale said he anticipated a strong showing from her in the Repercussion.

“She’s a hyper filly, and we changed a few things,” said DiPasquale. “She settled real good in the paddock, and we were happy with the way she tacked up. Justin got her to relax the first part. She got out there on her own and had a good finish.

“She quit in her other two races for me, and we were hoping that she’d run better. We’ve just been trying to find the right key for her. She ran a lot better the second time I ran her. She’s probably one of the fastest fillies that I’ve seen going half a mile.”

DiPasquale is content with the Marina Ballerina’s condition since the Repercussion.

“She came out of it good, but she became hyper again for a little bit,” DiPasquale said. “We’ve tried to get her settled her down again, and she seems to be going well. Hopefully, we’ve got her figured out.”

American shippers have won five of the last eight runnings of the Grade 3 Royal North, and there are three of them in Sunday’s field – Sea the Joy, Akronism and Green Door.

Sea the Joy is also very fast. She came from just off a sizzling pace to take a July 13 handicap at Ellis Park.

Akronism wound up third last time out after pressing the pace in the five-furlong Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware. She was cross-entered in Friday’s Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga.

Green Door checked in second in the one-mile Firecracker Stakes at Mountaineer July 5.

Eeny Meeny, a stretch-runner trained by Roger Attfield, is in career form and could be along for a top-three placing.