05/09/2007 11:00PM

Patience helps Tiller to strong start

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Bob Tiller continued his early-season tear here Wednesday night, saddling three winners to bring his total to 13 through the first 19 days of the Woodbine meeting.

Tiller sent out Yolie ($2.60), Executive Producer ($5.90), and Knocker ($6.90) to record his second hat trick of the meeting and increase his lead atop the trainer standings.

"Winning's a great thing," Tiller said in his office here Thursday morning. "That's what we're here for."

Tiller's training philosophy may be simple in theory, but it is much less so in practice.

"It takes a lot of good people, a lot of direction, good horses in the right races, and good luck," said Tiller, who at age 57 is in his 36th year as a trainer.

Tiller maintains that his quick start this year had its roots in 2006, when the barn accounted for 51 wins.

"We had a lot of 2-year-olds," Tiller said. "We don't believe in rushing them early; that's our program. We try and stop on them when they have little problems.

"Now, we have a lot of maiden 3-year-olds. In the right races, they'll do good."

Dave the Knave makes '07 debut

Tiller will be seeking his first stakes win of the season here Saturday when Dave the Knave, a 5-year-old gelding whom he owns in partnership with Frank DiGiulio, goes postward in the $125,000 New Providence.

Dave the Knave finished third in last year's New Providence, which is a six-furlong race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and upward, when making his second start of the season and coming off a win under third-level allowance terms at 5 1/2 furlongs.

This year, however, Dave the Knave will be making his seasonal bow in the New Providence.

And, even though Dave the Knave has won first-time out in each of his three campaigns to date, Tiller admits the circumstances are not ideal.

"I probably would have preferred to see him run before this," Tiller said.

"We've been nursing him for this race. He's in good order, and should run good, but he's a horse that has had a lot of issues during his career.

"We had to stop with him a bit this spring, and got him back a month later."

Jockey David Clark will be making his 13th consecutive appearance aboard Dave the Knave, with their successes during that span including the six-furlong Kenora and 7 1/2-furlong Shepperton Stakes.

Ship-ins arrive for stakes

Each of this weekend's stakes attracted a ship-in as Executive Choice checked in Thursday for the New Providence and Mary Delaney arrived the previous evening for Sunday's Grade 3, $125,000 Hendrie.

Executive Choice, a 6-year-old gelding trained by Bruce Levine in New York, will be making his third start at Woodbine.

In his last trip north, Executive Choice finished a close second in last year's 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton on Dec. 3 under jockey Jim McAleney, who currently is sidelined with a broken femur.

Emile Ramsammy has the mount on Executive Choice for the New Providence.

Candy Box, also trained by Levine, had been scheduled to accompany Executive Choice and run in the Hendrie but fell after working at Belmont on Monday and suffered a fatal injury.

Mary Delaney, a Kentucky-bred 5-year-old who is trained by Eddie Kenneally, is a Polytrack specialist who is riding a four-race win streak, including Turfway's Queen and Keeneland's Grade 2 Madison.

Kenneally, whose star has been on the rise recently through the exploits of Kelly's Landing and Bushfire, has had one previous starter at Woodbine as Well Dunne finished fifth in the 1996 My Dear.

Patrick Husbands has picked up the mount on Mary Delaney in the Hendrie, which is a 6 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Rainford ups her win total

Apprentice jockey Michelle Rainford was the riding star here Wednesday with three winners.

Rainford scored aboard Four on the Rock ($14.60), Janes Exception ($8.40), and Beyond Ascot ($6.70) to bring her total for the meeting to 11 wins.

"No one really overly enjoys Wednesday night racing, having to get up and do it all again on Thursday morning," Rainford said. "So, having three wins on a Wednesday night makes it just wonderful."

A 27-year-old native of Toronto, Rainford is in her second full season of riding after breaking in here in the fall of 2005.

Last year, Rainford rode 65 winners to rank ninth in the standings after finishing with a flourish of four winners on the penultimate day of the Woodbine meeting and a double on closing day.

Rainford took a couple of months off following the end of the meeting and was back at the track in mid-February.

"I definitely wanted to take last year, and jump off from that," Rainford said. "It took quite a while for me to get rolling last year, and develop a good clientele.

"So, I was just hoping to take what business I got from last year, and horses and what not, and keep building on that."

Rainford's mounts are booked by Alan Raymond, who also represents journeymen Martin Ramirez and Simon Husbands.