09/14/2007 12:00AM

Meribel facing softer in Canadian

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario – Based on her performances in stiff company at Saratoga recently, Meribel looms as the one to beat in Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian.

The Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, attracted a field of seven, including the talented local 3-year-old Sealy Hill, who will be facing older rivals for the first time.

Meribel, trained by Christophe Clement, arrived from Belmont Park Thursday evening.

"Everything is in good order," said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul, who is running the barn at Belmont while Clement attends the Keeneland sales in Kentucky. "The Canadian has been the plan for her since the Diana, because of the long stretch there."

Meribel finished well to be fourth, a length or so behind the talented trio of My Typhoon, Argentina, and Makderah in the Grade 1 Diana at 1o1/8 miles at Saratoga on July 28.

Swinging back there four weeks later, in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at 1o3/8 miles, Meribel finished third behind Wait a While, last year's champion filly or mare on turf, and Vacare, another a Grade 1 winner on the grass.

"She ran into a bit of competition at Saratoga," Lorieul said.

Meribel, who will carry high weight of 117 pounds in the Canadian, will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, who rode her to back-to-back wins at Belmont earlier this year.

Sealy Hill made a successful turf debut last time out, winning the 1o1/4-mile Wonder Where, the third leg of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine on Julyo28.

Street Sounds, beaten 2 3/4 lengths as the third-place finisher in the Wonder Where, came back to run eighth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, by Irish invader Alexander Tango in Belmont's Grade 1 Garden City at 1o1/8 miles on the turf on Sept. 8.

"Our filly's been training really good," said Mark Casse, who trains the homebred Sealy Hill for Melnyk Racing Stable. "I'm expecting big things from her. We're excited, and we're ready."

Regular rider Patrick Husbands has the call aboard Sealy Hill.

Wedded Woman, a 4-year-old, recorded her third win in as many starts this season in the 1 1/16-mile prep for the Canadian over soft going here Aug. 24.

"I was more than happy with her last race," said Brian Lynch, who trains the homebred Wedded Woman for Stronach Stable. "I think she's run so good this year because we've spaced out her races and, if anything, she might be coming back a bit quick here. But she's doing so well, we thought we'd take a shot."

Todd Kabel, who rode Wedded Woman in the prep, retains the mount.

May Night and Green Girl also shipped in for the Canadian, with May Night coming from Kentucky and Green Girl from France.

The Canadian will be the third start at Woodbine this year for May Night, who finished second here in both the Grade 2 Nassau and the Grade 2 Dance Smartly for trainer Fred Seitz.

Robert Landry, aboard for those two races, again gets the call.

Green Girl, a listed stakes winner who has placed in a Grade 3 stakes for trainer John Hammond, will be ridden for the first time by Emma-Jayne Wilson.

Rounding out the field are Elle Runaway, who keeps knocking hard but has not won a race in more than two years; Like a Gem, upset winner of the Wonder Where on the turf here last year; Essential Edge, who is moving up in class after winning the Belle Geste for Ontario foals; and The Queen's Stamp, a winner of her last two starts under allowance conditions.