11/11/2004 12:00AM

One for Rose gives weight to Raylene again

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - One for Rose's tour de force in last year's Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes went a long way toward earning her the Sovereign Award as Canada's top older filly and mare.

On Saturday, One for Rose will look to enhance her chances for another divisional title when she faces four other fillies and mares in the $185,850 Maple Leaf.

Last fall, One for Rose scored by 7 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/8-mile prep for the Maple Leaf and returned three weeks later to romp by 6 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile stakes, earning a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 110.

This time around, One for Rose will be looking for revenge in the Maple Leaf after finishing second in the Oct. 24 prep, beaten a half-length by Raylene.

One for Rose, an Ontario-bred 5-year-old owned by Tucci Stable and trained by Sid Attard, had started two weeks prior to the prep in Keeneland's Grade 1 Spinster, finishing fourth behind the formidable Azeri.

"She ran hard there, and to run her back in two weeks was too quick," said Attard. "She needs more time."

One for Rose now has had three weeks to rebound, and Attard believes she'll be ready for her best.

"She's coming around very nicely," he said. "She's really coming back to herself the last few days."

One for Rose was the 123-pound highweight in the prep, spotting six pounds to the winner. Under the terms of the Maple Leaf, One for Rose carries 126 pounds while Raylene gets in with 117.

Raylene, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old owned by Calmar Stable and Ranch, came east to trainer Reade Baker here this summer after running out of competition in Alberta. While Raylene also won an open allowance race at 1 1/16 miles here Aug. 2, the Maple Leaf prep was her best local effort.

"I think we've finally got a handle on her," said Baker. "Maybe earlier on in the year, we were doing a little too much with her between races. I think she needs to be a little fresher."

While Baker is confident that Raylene will run her race, and expects the 1 1/4 miles to be to her liking, he acknowledges that One for Rose will take some beating and also fears that the pace scenario could work against Raylene.

One for Rose made all the running in a paceless Maple Leaf last year, and could well take advantage of the same circumstances here.

Regular rider Emile Ramsammy has the mount on One for Rose, who begins from post 4, while Raylene starts from post 1 under her usual partner, Jim McAleney.

Clouds of Gold, an improving 5-year-old who finished third in the Maple Leaf prep, has upset potential, but the other two entrants, Appleby Gardens and Six Jiggles, would appear to be destined for the minor awards.

Mt. Sassafras next step for Wando

Wando, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old, has had a troubled campaign in 2004, missing the entire summer after falling ill on two occasions.

But Wando looked much more like his old self last time, scoring convincingly in an open allowance race at seven furlongs here Oct. 31, and will try to build upon that success when he returns in Saturday's $103,000 Mt. Sassafras at the same distance.

Mike Keogh, who trains Wando for owner-breeder Gustav Schickedanz, acknowledged that while running back in two weeks is contrary to his normal practice, he has no concerns on that count.

"I wasn't going to come back in here," said Keogh, "but there's nothing else for him after that. He had a lot of time off, and he's a relatively fresh horse.

"He'll get a nice break after this, and start up in January at Gulfstream."

The Mt. Sassafras has attracted another former champion in Wake at Noon, Canada's Horse of the Year, top older horse, and top sprinter of 2002.

Wake at Noon, owned and bred by Bruno Schickedanz and trained by Abraham Katryan, stood at stud last winter and is winless in three starts since returning to action this fall.

Twisted Wit and Millfleet, a pair of talented 3-year-old geldings, are serious upset candidates in the Mt. Sassafras.

Rounding out the field are the talented Mulligan the Great, who is making his first start since July 1, and the upwardly mobile Middle Bay.

Coastal Fortress captures South Ocean

Coastal Fortress raced forwardly under Todd Kabel before drawing off to capture her first stakes in the $134,500 South Ocean here Wednesday night.

Coastal Fortress pressed I'm a Cheetah through quick fractions of 23.13 seconds, 47.20, and 1:12.93 in the 1 1/16-mile event for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies. She assumed command at the head of the stretch and went on to a post a 4 1/2-length victory in a final time of 1:48.89.

Archie's Gal came on late along the rail to edge I'm a Cheetah for second, while 2-1 favorite Wisdomisgold finished a nonthreatening fifth in the nine-horse field.

Said Kabel: "I had a bad break, but I was able to regain my position quickly, and the filly responded well for me. I knew I had some horse underneath me, and when I asked her, she kicked on and ran a very strong race."

Coastal Fortress paid $7.60 as the second choice, while capping a Win 4 that returned a whopping $41,304.95. She earned $80,700 for Minshall Farm and trainer Barbara Minshall.

* Ontario's Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association announced Wednesday that John Josephson has been hired as controller of the organization, effective Nov. 15.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink