09/28/2005 11:00PM

Phenom on turf in dirt debut


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Arravale, who has established herself as the best 2-year-old grass filly at Woodbine, will try the dirt for the first time Saturday in the Grade 3, $281,500 Mazarine Breeders' Cup Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Arravale, an undefeated daughter of Arch trained by Mac Benson, won a seven-furlong maiden special when she made her debut in mid-August. She was stuck in traffic along the rail in her only other outing, which came Sept. 11 in the one-mile Natalma Stakes. She rallied strongly after jockey David Clark angled her wide in midstretch and prevailed by a length, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 74.

"It looked like she was much the best in the Natalma," Benson said.

Benson said he has no qualms with running Arravale on the main track, adding that the timing of the Natalma made him keep her on the grass up until now.

"She's always trained good enough on the dirt, and I wouldn't have hesitated starting her off in it," Benson said. "It's just that she had grass breeding, the Natalma was there, and it's one of my favorite races. It was the fifth time I had won it."

Other possibilities in the Mazarine include the Dave Cotey-trained duo of Silent Course and Motel Dancing, along with Sudsy Baby and Knights Templar.

Silent Course won her maiden in her third start, in the seven-furlong Muskoka, a stakes restricted to graduates of local yearling sales. Her dam placed in two route stakes, and Cotey said Silent Course acts like a filly who won't mind an increase in distance.

"She's like the Energizer Bunny," Cotey said. "When you train her, she just doesn't want to stop."

Motel Dancing also won her maiden in her third start, doing so after overcoming some adversity in a mile and 70-yard maiden special.

"She got stopped in the stretch," Cotey said. "She should benefit from that race. [Jockey Emma Wilson] said she had tons of horse in the early part of the race, so I'm sure that she can pick it up a little earlier."

Sudsy Baby has been freshened since her subpar performance in the six-furlong Ontario Debutante Stakes, which was won by Knights Templar. Trainer Stanley Baresich said he is optimistic about her chances around two turns.

"I've been training her in a way which she should stretch out," Baresich said. "By looking at her, you would say that she wants to go a route of ground."

Knights Templar was most recently eighth in the Grade 3 Natalma, her first turf attempt.