08/11/2004 12:00AM

Mona Rose perfect this meet


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Dance Smartly Handicap winner Mona Rose is the one to fear most in Friday's Woodbine headliner, a $100,000 optional claimer on the grass for fillies and mares.

Trained by Earl Barnett, Mona Rose is unbeaten in three starts at the meeting, all on turf with jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard. Her streak began with a 3 1/2-length score in a May 22 preliminary allowance, and she doubled up at the second allowance category June 26, winning by a neck over Kabul.

Most recently, in the 1 1/8-mile Dance Smartly, Mona Rose stalked three dueling front-runners in a four-horse field on the backstretch. She overhauled heavily favored Inish Glora, last year's champion turf female, in deep stretch and prevailed by a length, earning a Beyer Figure of 96. It was the first stakes triumph for Mona Rose, who earned $133,844 for owners Paul and Frank O'Brien.

"I've always had faith in her," said Barnett after the Grade 3 Dance Smartly. "She's big and strong. She's bred for the turf and handles it well."

Mona Rose has worked twice over the turf training course in recent weeks and should be favored if the race stays on the grass.

Among the others entered in the 1 1/16-mile event are Alpha Saphire, Mille Feville, and My Pal Lana.

Alpha Saphire captured the 2003 Wonder Where Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile test which is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Tiara. She subsequently finished third in the Flaming Page Stakes and capped her 2003 campaign by running fourth as the favorite in the Carotene Stakes.

Alpha Saphire has run just once this year, a fading sixth-place finish in a Feb. 11 allowance at Gulfstream. Her trainer, Danny Vella, has won with 21 percent of his 43 extended layoff runners since the beginning of last year, while producing a flat-bet profit.

Alpha Saphire is coupled with another Stronach Stable runner, In Love Again, who was entered for the main track only.

Mille Feville, who also wintered in Florida, has run four decent races at this stand for trainer Roger Attfield. She was third behind Holy Bubbette and Winter Garden in the April 18 Whimsical Stakes on dirt and was third in each of her last two allowance outings on the grass.

With Slade Callaghan retaining the mount, Mille Feville should be a speed threat.

My Pal Lana wasn't far behind Mille Feville in fifth, in a one-mile allowance July 30. She was previously triumphant in an $80,000 optional claimer.