10/29/2009 11:00PM

Porte Bonheur to defend Fashion title

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Barbara D. Livingston
Porte Bonheur will make her second start in Canada in Sunday's Ontario Fashion Stakes.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Porte Bonheur will try to win the $150,000 Ontario Fashion Stakes for the second year in a row Sunday at Woodbine.

A New York-based horse, Porte Bonheur won the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Saratoga last year and then entered the Fashion off a third-place finish behind champion Indian Blessing in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont. Trainer David Duggan said coming to Canada to contest last year's Fashion wasn't the original plan.

"When she ran third to Indian Blessing, she came out of it with a foot bruise," Duggan said. "We rectified that. The availability of races for her led to Canada, and the ultimate goal was to try and find out if she could handle the Polytrack, which she did."

Porte Bonheur is at the end of another lucrative campaign. After running second in the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap in May, she won her second start off the sideline in the at Belmont on June 28.

Porte Bonheur chased home Informed Decision in each of her last two outings, both in graded stakes on synthetic surfaces: She was fifth in the at Keeneland on Oct. 10. Those efforts swayed Duggan to forgo the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint Nov. 6 at Santa Anita.

"Informed Decision beat us twice, fair and square, so there's no point in going to California to get beat again," Duggan said. "We decided that this was the best option. She's been training exceptionally well."

Channing Hill, who was aboard for Porte Bonheur's 2008 Fashion triumph, has the mount.

Tribal Belle, a former low-level claimer, has won three of four starts this year. She got a 99 Beyer Figure for her 10-length triumph in a June 24 optional claimer. Following a 2 1/2-month layoff Sept. 5, she led throughout the .

Tribal Belle usually races on the front end, but trainer Terry Jordan said she doesn't need the lead to get the job done.

"She's won from off the pace," Jordan said. "She definitely doesn't have to be in front."

Glitter Rox has performed well on both Woodbine surfaces this year. She won her season debut on turf in the Grade 3 Royal North Stakes in August and is coming off a second-place finish on Polytrack in the Avowal Stakes on Oct. 3.