06/14/2001 12:00AM

Matron features two champions


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sunday's Ontario Matron will feature a clash of the two most recent Canadian 3-year-old filly champions.

Catch the Ring, the Sovereign Award winner for the division last year, and Gandria, voted best of the set in 1999, will meet for the first time in the $110,500 Matron.

Owned by Sam-Son Farm, Catch the Ring won the allowance prep for the Matron in her local 2001 debut. She will run in an entry with Mountain Angel, forming the same team that finished 1-2 in last year's Canadian Oaks.

Gandria, a 5-year-old who was runner-up in the Queen's Plate and winner of the Prince of Wales in her 1999 campaign for Arosa Farm, will be seeking her first win of the season in her fourth appearance.

Rounding out the field of eight for the 1 1/16-mile handicap will be Inspired Kiss, Speed River, Katherine of Ascot, Eden Lodge, and Nymphenburg.

Kiss a Native gets in work

Another Canadian champion had his second workout of the season here Thursday as Kiss a Native, voted top 3-year-old male last year, breezed four furlongs in 48.80 seconds on a fast main track. Regular rider Mickey Walls was aboard for the drill.

"Mickey was very happy with him, and I was very happy too," said trainer David Bell. "He's looks better than he ever did; he's got more weight on him. He looks like a million dollars."

Kiss a Native, bred in Florida by his owner, John Franks, won the Victoria Park, Charlie Barley, Colonel R.S. McLaughlin, and Durham Cup plus the Pegasus at the Meadowlands during his championship campaign.

The gelding suffered a slight cannon-bone fracture here late last fall and underwent surgery before wintering at Franks's Florida farm.

Bell has penciled in the $125,000 Seagram Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race here Aug. 5, as Kiss a Native's first major target.

Incitatus retired

Incitatus, the Barbadian-bred who has been among the top turf performers on the circuit the past few years, has been retired.

Incitatus had made a menacing move midway through his seasonal bow, which came in the second division of the Connaught Cup, but flattened out to finish sixth in the Grade 3 feature.

"When he came out of his last race we noticed he wasn't putting much weight on his right hind," said trainer Ron Burke. "X-rays showed a fine hairline fracture.

"He's 8 years old, and he's done everything we asked him to do. It was only fitting we not press on with him."

Incitatus arrived at Woodbine in the spring of 1997 after winning the Cockspur Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious races in Barbados.

His first major local success came in the 1999 running of the Connaught Cup, which then was a Grade 2 and offered a purse of $110,600.

But he eclipsed that feat last year by winning the Grade 2, $315,300 King Edward, leaving Quiet Resolve, who went on to be named Canada's Horse of the Year and champion turf horse, in second place.

Incitatus, owned by John Kom-Tong since 1999, retires with a record of 19 wins, seven seconds and seven thirds, and earnings of $643,949 from 54 career starts.

"I'm going to work on sending him back to Barbados, as a stallion," said Burke.

Nosferatu, the sire of Incitatus, was a son of Vice Regent out of Ballade, who also was the dam of Glorious Song, Devil's Bag and Saint Ballado.

Mysterious Affair takes Ballade

Speaking of Ballade, the stakes bearing her name was run here Wednesday evening and the winner was Mysterious Affair.

A 4-year-old filly owned, trained and bred by Mort Hardy, Mysterious Affair notched her fourth consecutive win with Richard Dos Ramos aboard in the $100,800 Ballade, a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Mysterious Affair and second choice Ruby Park hooked up on the front end from the outset and dueled through fractions of 22.55 and 45.36 seconds. Mysterious Affair established a half-length lead at the eighth pole, and held Ruby Park at bay during the final furlong to prevail by a neck in a time of 1:10.04.

The rider on Ruby Park claimed foul on the winner for alleged interference in deep stretch, but the claim was disallowed by the stewards.

Sports Flashy stalked the leaders throughout and surged late to finish another neck back in third, while outsider Fresh Believer trailed the four-horse field. Ice Tie was scratched.

Mysterious Affair ($3.80) earned $63,504.

Jockey Daniel David won three races on the Wednesday card, taking the first with Alaskan Wildcat ($9.80), the fourth with Crown's Shadow ($25.30), and the seventh aboard Missy In Action ($5.60)

Two riders appeal

Jockeys Na Somsanith and Todd Kabel both have appealed suspensions issued recently by the Woodbine stewards.

Somsanith had been handed a three-day ban for coming out with his mount, Regal Snicker, and interfering with Kisbey in the vicinity of the quarter-pole in last Saturday's Canadian Oaks. Kabel had been suspended five days for misuse of his whip before the post parade for last Saturday's second race. The stewards ruled Kabel repeatedly hit his mount, Tepu Sultan, on the head.

* "Woodbine Post Time" on Sportsnet will air from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, a departure from the original schedule.