06/27/2004 11:00PM

Repeat win will require extra effort

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Brass in Pocket will try to win the $127,875 Ballade Stakes for the second year in a row Wednesday at Woodbine, but the rapid 3-year-old Blonde Executive will likely be favored in the six-furlong test for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Brass in Pocket was the Sovereign Award runner-up for champion older female in Canada in 2003, when she won five stakes in seven starts. She has seemingly lost a step or two this year, although both of her efforts at the meeting were decent.

In her first start of the meet, Brass in Pocket dueled up front with Handpainted in the Grade 3 Hendrie Handicap. She began to fade in the final eighth of that 6 1/2-furlong dash, and finished about five lengths back of stablemate Winter Garden in fourth.

Most recently, Brass in Pocket set a moderate pace before being overhauled by Winning Chance in a 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Ontario Matron Handicap.

"She didn't break all that well in the Hendrie," trainer Bob Tiller said. "She went up in there, and then kind of emptied out.

In the Ontario Matron prep, Winning Chance "was just much the best," said Tiller, adding that Brass in Pocket "ran a good second. I'd like to think that she's coming around to a big race now."

Todd Kabel inherits the mount on Brass in Pocket from an injured David Clark.

Blonde Executive, a homebred owned by Bruno Brothers Farm, took the Victorian Queen Stakes in one of her three 2003 victories. She defeated older allowance/optional-claiming opposition in her season opener May 2.

"She had been training good, and I really thought she'd run well in there," said trainer Radlie Loney.

Blonde Executive won the May 29 Lady Angela Stakes in a romp under Richard Dos Ramos. She sizzled seven furlongs in 1:22.80 in that seven-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, receiving a Beyer Speed Figure of 95.

"The way the track was playing, I thought she would win, but I thought she would run in 1:25," Loney said. "I never dreamt she would go that quickly. Even Dos Ramos didn't think she was going that fast. She surprised him."

Loney entered Blonde Executive in an overnight stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies last Sunday, which failed to fill. He said he has no qualms with running her against older opposition on Wednesday. "She's on her game right now," he said.