11/01/2001 1:00AM

Mountain Angel running for title shot


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad have several potential champions in their ranks this year.

Queen's Plate winner Dancethruthedawn is a shoo-in for the Sovereign Award as champion 3-year-old filly, and Only to You has a realistic chance to be voted top turf female.

Mountain Angel will have a big shot at champion older filly or mare honors if she wins Saturday's $191,800 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine. She will be coupled with Catch the Ring in what figures to be a short-priced Sam-Son entry in the 1 1/4-mile event.

Mountain Angel has won 4 of 5 starts this year, including the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron Handicap. The lone blemish on her season's record came following a two-month layoff and against males in a Sept. 15 allowance, in which she led until the top of the stretch before fading to fifth.

Her last time out, in the allowance prep for the Maple Leaf, Mountain Angel set fast fractions and prevailed by a half-length under a hand ride from Todd Kabel. Her 1 1/8-mile time of 1:49.60 was good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

Catch the Ring, last year's champion 3-year-old filly, overhauled Mountain Angel in the final strides to capture the 2000 Canadian Oaks. She was a nonthreatening fifth in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap two starts ago at Saratoga, and was recently second in the prep.

Frostad was pleased with the efforts by both homebreds in the prep.

"Both fillies ran great races," said Frostad. Mountain Angel, he said, has "been terrific this year." As for Catch the Ring, the trainer said, "She hadn't run since Aug. 24, and she needed the race. I think they'll both be in good shape for the Maple Leaf."

Kabel retains the mount on Mountain Angel, who has never run beyond 1 1/8 miles. Robert Landry will ride Catch the Ring.

Completing the field for the Grade 3 event are Letter of Intent, Paint Her Gold, Nymphenburg, Madame Red, Forest Princess, and Zamba Canuta.

California shipper Letter of Intent has yet to win a stakes, but she was good enough to finish third behind Spain and Chilukki in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes last winter at Santa Anita. She rallied to finish second to Queenie Belle most recently in the Grade 2 Lady's Secret BC Handicap. Bill Spawr trains.

Nymphenburg has been transformed into a successful turf specialist this year by trainer Jerry Meyer, who sent her out to finish a troubled second in her last main track start in the June 17 Ontario Matron.

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