07/13/2006 11:00PM

Midnight Shadow off to strong start

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Bob Tiller, who won the first restricted 2-year-old stakes of the Woodbine meeting last weekend with Spread the News, will send out promising 2-year-old filly Midnight Shadow in Sunday's $150,000 Shady Well Stakes.

Midnight Shadow ran greenly when she made her debut in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight dash, in which she rallied to finish fourth.

"She didn't break real well in her first start," Tiller said. "She [got] behind horses, jumped up and down a little from the dirt, and ran on the wrong lead down the lane. She got beat two or three lengths and galloped out right with the leaders. I thought it was a super race."

Midnight Shadow put it all together 13 days later in a five-furlong maiden race June 23, when she benefited from an inside-speed bias and scored by 6 1/4 lengths. Her quick final time of 57.60 seconds translated into an 87 Beyer Figure.

"She broke right on the money," Tiller said. "She went head-and-head for the lead, then widened, and was gone. She was really strong the last quarter. She was pretty impressive.

"We've always liked her, right from the time when she was [training] early in the spring. She needs to behave herself. We had some issues with her at the gate, but she's a lot better now."

Tiller said Midnight Shadow breezed a half-mile in 48.60 over the training track last Sunday in company with her well-regarded stablemate Dancer's Bajan, who was second in his debut.

"They worked very well together," Tiller said. "I believe she got the jump on him at the pole. They were basically going along together."

Other possibilities in the Shady Well, a five-furlong dash for Ontario-breds, are Golden Wahine, On the Podium, Validity, and Lucas Street.

Golden Wahine looked like an easy winner at the eighth pole in her debut before she staggered home third. She led throughout in her second outing, earning a 65 Beyer for completing five furlongs in 59.

Trainer Roger Attfield said Golden Wahine learned between her first and second race how to breathe correctly.

"She ran on one breath in her first start and then blew up," Attfield said. "Last time, she was more professional. She breathed properly, and it worked out okay."

Attfield paid $65,000 for Golden Wahine at the Keeneland September yearling sale. He said she has the build of a sprinter.

"She's a very strong filly," Attfield said. "She has the biggest girth of any horse in my barn."