08/07/2001 11:00PM

Now, Win City goes in Travers

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Win City procession took another sharp turn here Wednesday when trainer Bob Tiller said the gelding would not contest Saturday's Breeders' Stakes and is being pointed to Saratoga's $1 million Travers Aug. 25.

Tiller had said Monday that Win City would be entered in the $500,000 Breeders', a 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the finale of the Canadian Triple Crown. Last Friday, the trainer had said Win City was all but definite for this Saturday's West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park.

"We've had some decisions to make with this horse this week," said Tiller, who trains Win City for Frank DiGiulio Jr. and the Estate of Frank DiGiulio.

"He was going to West Virginia. Unfortunately, when we worked him Sunday, he came off the track and let three coughs go. That was concerning to me.

"We always scope him when we work him, and we found some mucus. Because of the heat, and the shipping, we had to rule that race out.

"It was a very minor situation; we believe it's cleared up now. But we just don't feel comfortable about running on the turf [in the Breeders']. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The horse has won four stakes out of his last five, and we want to do what's right for him."

As of Wednesday, that would be a trip to the Grade 1 Travers, a 1 1/4-mile race.

"The bottom line is, we're going there and take a shot at the moon," said Tiller. "He should be a fresh horse, off of five weeks off. We're going to work him this weekend and next weekend, and if everything's okay we'll go there."

Win City and the filly Dancethruthedawn traded decisions in the first two legs of the Canadian Triple, with the filly winning the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate here at Woodbine and Win City taking the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales at Fort Erie.

Dancethruthedawn also was nominated to the Breeders' but is slated to make her next start at Saratoga. Her target is the Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares Aug. 18.

Maiden filly has shot in Breeders'

The absence of Win City and Dancethruthedawn will give Asia the distinction of being the only horse to compete in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Asia is a filly, which has not in itself been a drawback in the Breeders', as 10 fillies have won during the 42 runnings at Woodbine.

Asia also is a maiden, which could be seen as a dubious credential, although she wasn't disgraced when she finished fourth in both the Plate and the Prince of Wales. But Jim Cheadle, who trains Asia for the Arosa Farm of Jurgen Schemmer, believes his horse has a big shot to graduate with style despite the unfamiliar territory.

"If she doesn't move up on grass, there's something wrong," said Cheadle. "She's by Sky Classic out of an Alleged mare - that's grass on grass."

Asia has not set foot on turf since last Oct. 13, when she worked five furlongs in 1:03.80 on the training course. While the other Breeders' entrants had their final major tune-ups on the turf here last weekend, Cheadle opted to work Asia on the main track.

"I find, in my experience, they've worked brilliantly on the turf and then you go out and run them on the grass and they flatten right out," said the trainer. "Every time I do that the horse comes out of those works a little stiff - it's just because it's a new surface."

While Asia, like all of her Breeders' rivals, has yet to race as far as 12 furlongs, her trainer is even more confident on that count.

"I think the distance is right up her alley," said Cheadle. "She's finished well in both previous [Canadian Triple Crown] races."

Patrick Husbands takes over from Aaron Gryder, who picked up the mount on Asia when was here to ride Texas Glitter in the Nearctic on Plate Day and was recruited for the Wales.

Asia will break from the outside post in the field of six for the Breeders', which will be televised nationally by Sportsnet in a one-hour show beginning at 4 p.m.

Her opponents, in post order with riders, will be Fly Smartly, Gary Boulanger; Vie for Fame, Mickey Walls; Flaming Sky, Steven Bahen; Go Figure, David Clark; and Sweetest Thing, Jim McAleney.

Sweetest Thing, a filly trained by Roger Attfield, is the only entrant who has passed through her first allowance condition, having scored over 1 3/8 miles of turf in her last start here July 26.

Go Figure and Fly Smartly are coming off their maiden wins, Vie for Fame was second in a preliminary allowance last time out, and Flaming Sky is a maiden.