08/01/2003 12:00AM

Passionate Bird has Sun field's best form


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Passionate Bird will be heavily favored when she invades from Canterbury Park to take on eight other fillies and mares in the $35,000 Winnipeg Sun Stakes going 1 1/16 miles Sunday.

In her most recent race, the one-mile Queen's Handicap at Horsemen's Park in Omaha on July 12, Passionate Bird pressed the pace early before opening up and holding on to win by 1 1/2 lengths with something left.

She did the same thing two races back in the one-mile Minnesota HBPA Mile over the turf at Canterbury Park on July 5, winning by two lengths.

Trained by Myles Neff for Lee Parker, Passionate Bird only started four times in 2002 but has already run nine times in 2003, winning three races and earning $60,995. Leading rider Travis Hightower has the call.

Passionate Bird will likely be close to the tough speed horse Regal Heir early in the race, and if those two hook up on the turn for home, they could set up the race for Canada Day Stakes winner Remiewaterbluz.

Owned by Well-Being Stable, Remiewaterbluz has blossomed locally under the care of trainer Clayton Gray since arriving from Texas, where she was running in $5,000 conditioned claiming races.

Remiewaterbluz has won 3 of 4 starts for Gray, including two allowance races and the one-mile Canada Day, where she waited behind a lone speed horse before drawing away to win by 4 1/2 lengths.

Second-leading rider Juan Crawford will be aboard.

Briar Hill Farm's Regal Heir appears to be the dominant speed and comes into the race off an impressive win going a mile in a conditioned allowance.

In that July 18 race, Regal Heir appeared to rate a little more kindly than she normally does, and she responded gamely when asked in the stretch to put away fellow Sun Stakes entrant Miss Sandy Dee, drawing off to win by a length.

Regular rider Rohan Singh will be back aboard for Sunday's race.

Rounding out the field are Lady Katie, a new arrival to trainer John Keegan's barn from Philadelphia Park; Miss Noire, fourth in the Canada Day; Reeyre, who finished well in a conditioned claimer in her latest; Beausox, who arrives from Alberta; Miss Sandy Dee, recently second behind Regal Heir; and Ms. Lady Rose, coming off a win in the Mademoiselle Handicap at Marquis Downs.