06/02/2004 11:00PM

Nassau rematch of prep


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Inish Glora and Classic Stamp, the first two finishers in the prep for the Grade 3 Nassau Stakes, will meet again Saturday at Woodbine in the $272,250 Nassau, a 1 1/16-mile grass race for fillies and mares.

Inish Glora was voted the Sovereign Award as champion turf female in Canada in 2003, when she won 3 of 6 starts and banked nearly $360,000. She defeated Volga when she captured the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap in September, and Volga went on to win in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes, in which Inish Glora finished seventh.

Inish Glora was bet down to 2-5 when she returned from a winter layoff in the May 16 prep. She was prominent from the outset in that one-mile allowance, and prevailed by a neck under a confident ride from Todd Kabel.

Trainer Mac Benson said he was very pleased with Inish Glora's comeback race.

"She was ready to run, but I hadn't really drilled her for it," Benson admitted. "Todd didn't really drive on her through the stretch. He hit her maybe once, and then hand-rode her. He let her pretty much do it on her own. She was tight enough that she got the job done. We were aiming her for this race."

Inish Glora breezed a half-mile in a bullet 47.80 seconds over the main track last Wednesday. "She's doing great," Benson said.

Classic Stamp won her first stakes last October, in the nine-furlong Carotene. In her only outing this year, she was a fast-closing second in the prep, an effort that didn't surprise trainer Cliff Hopmans.

"She's a big, masculine filly, who's very durable," Hopmans noted. "You can gallop her two miles a day, and let her gallop along every other day. She eats a hole in her feed tub every night, and you can push those type of horses along more than the fragile ones."

Hopmans believes the extra sixteenth of a mile in the Nassau will be to Classic Stamp's benefit.

"I think this distance should be better for her," Hopmans said. "Once she gets into overdrive, she can sustain it for a long time. In the prep, she didn't really get rolling until the sixteenth pole. She was in front a jump past the wire, and then galloped out about 10 lengths in front of the field. That race should set her up beautifully for the Nassau. She's coming into the race in wonderful order, mentally and physically."