08/30/2004 12:00AM

My Vintage Port takes easier path


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - My Vintage Port, last year's Canadian champion 2-year-old filly, heads Wednesday's $131,125 Eternal Search Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine.

My Vintage Port competed in all three legs of this year's Canadian triple tiara. She was a distant third to Eye of the Sphynx and Touchnow in the Woodbine Oaks, but was beaten only two lengths by that duo when third in the second leg of the series, the Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie.

Most recently, in the Wonder Where Stakes on turf, My Vintage Port overhauled favored Eye of the Sphynx in deep stretch to win by a half-length, earning a career-high 85 Beyer Figure.

Trainer Ken Parsley was also looking at Saturday's Ontario Colleen Handicap for My Vintage Port, because he felt a victory over Eye of the Sphynx in that open stakes would bolster My Vintage Port's chances for garnering the Sovereign Award as champion 3-year-old filly.

"I was really on the fence," Parsley said. "Do we go in the easy Ontario-sired race, or do we go in the tougher race? It would be nice for her to be champion again. We'd have to beat Eye of the Sphynx again, maybe once or twice more. She's definitely the front-runner for 3-year-old filly of the year."

Bay Sweetie Babe should be the second choice in the seven-horse Eternal Search lineup.

Bay Sweetie Babe was freshened by trainer Danny O'Callaghan after finishing far back over a sloppy strip in her season opener. She has since won two allowances at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, wrapped around a fourth-place finish in the Wonder Where.

"We were disappointed with her first race, but she came out of it good," O'Callaghan said. "We never did discover what [the problem] was, but she certainly wasn't right. We just gave her some time, and she's progressed steadily since then."

Oriental Doll is going back to the dirt off a series of turf races. She was a troubled fifth in the Wonder Where, and finished 10 lengths back last time when eighth in a nonwinners-of-two allowance.

"I was very disappointed in her last race," said Dave Cotey, who trains Oriental Doll. "She had no excuses. I'm just hoping it was the turf."

Oriental Doll won her maiden on the main track going 1 1/16 miles in June.