05/04/2007 12:00AM

Palace Pier looks better than her four Fury rivals


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Palace Pier towers over her Ontario-foaled opponents in Sunday's $150,000 Fury Stakes, an important prep for the June 10 Woodbine Oaks.

After launching her career on the grass, Palace Pier found her niche on the Polytrack last fall, when she won her maiden going 11/16 miles Nov. 4. A month later at that same distance in the Ontario Lassie Stakes, she led throughout to prevail by three-quarters of a length over favored Catch the Thrill, last year's champion 2-year-old filly.

Trainer Darwin Banach said Palace Pier put it all together in the Lassie.

"She had been training fantastic up until that point, and it was great to see her run to the ability we thought she was capable of," Banach said.

Palace Pier spent about half the winter at Keeneland, where she was a prominent third in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes April 12, beaten just two lengths by another Ontario-bred, Street Sounds.

Banach said he was encouraged by Palace Pier's performance in the Beaumont, which was run over about seven furlongs.

"We were very happy with the way she ran," said Banach. "I don't think she's a seven-eighths-type horse. I think she wants to go longer. I was tickled with the amount of speed that she showed."

Just four other 3-year-old fillies were entered in the seven-furlong sprint: Saskawea, Grandy's Glory, Banker's Street and Quiet Action.

Saskawea graduated second time out at 2, and then finished second to Grandy's Glory in the six-furlong Fanfreluche Stakes. After ending up second to Sealy Hill in the Glorious Song Stakes, she won 1 1/16-mile allowance by four lengths after setting slow fractions on an uncontested lead.

Saskawea has improved significantly since last year, according to trainer Steve Attard, who said he entered her in a recent allowance race, which failed to fill.

"She's been training up a storm," said Attard. "She's had four three-quarters-of-a-mile works. Time-wise, they might not be the greatest," but, he said, the filly galloped out impressively.

Grandy's Glory and Banker's Street both won their respective season openers in allowance company, Banker's Street with a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.