07/30/2004 12:00AM

Rivalry resumes, but on turf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Eye of the Sphynx and Touchnow, winners of the first two races of the Canadian triple crown for 3-year-old fillies, will renew their rivalry Sunday on the grass in the third leg of the series, the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes at Woodbine.

Eye of the Sphynx won the Grade 2 Selene and the Fury Stakes in May, which set her up nicely for the first Canadian triple crown filly race, the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 13. She took the nine-furlong Oaks by four lengths over Touchnow, and was made the 1-9 favorite when they clashed again July 4, in the Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie.

Touchnow, however, handed Eye of the Sphynx her first loss in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City, which she won by a neck after making an early bid along the rail on the far turn.

Mark Frostad, who trains Eye of the Sphynx for Sam-Son Farm, said Eye of the Sphynx had trouble coping with the hot weather the day of the Bison City.

"She got heat stroke," Frostad said. "She was acting up in the post parade, and was definitely a little wonky after the race."

Touchnow's trainer, Reade Baker, believes the main difference between the Oaks and the Bison City was that Touchnow encountered traffic on the far turn in the Oaks.

"Touchnow got caught behind Hong Kong Dancer backing up in the Oaks," Baker said. "She was going to make it really tough that day, but she got caught flat-footed."

Neither Eye of the Sphynx nor Touchnow has run or worked on the grass in preparation for the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where.

Eye of the Sphynx is by a superb turf sire in Smart Strike. Her dam, Queen of Egypt, was stakes placed on the grass and has produced Wonder Where winner Quiet Cleo, along with Clever Cleo, runner-up in the Natalma Stakes.

Touchnow, a daughter of Pleasant Tap, has a dirt-oriented pedigree, but Baker noted that she has some "green" in her bloodlines.

"Pleasant Tap's highest earner is [Tap Dance City] who won the Japan Cup on the grass," Baker said. "She's out of a Sovereign Dancer mare, so you have some Northern Dancer [blood] in the family."

Sheer Enchantment could be the sleeper. She took 12 starts to win her maiden, but did so impressively in good time at the same distance as the Wonder Where on July 4.

"She's really come around," trainer Abraham Katryan said. "She put on some weight, and we found out that she likes the turf better than the dirt."

The field

Wonder Where Stakes

Purse: $250,000, 1 1/4 miles (turf)


1 Eye of the Sphynx T. Kabel 9-5
2 My Vintage Port J. Jones 4-1
3 Sheer Enchantment E. Ramsammy 5-1
4 Nomistakeabout R. Dos Ramos 12-1
5 Bay Sweetie Babe S. Callaghan 20-1
6 Touchnow P. Husbands 5-2
7 Moment of Peace G. Olguin 10-1
8 Oriental Doll C. Montpellier 30-1

* All starters carry 121 pounds

* Odds by Ron Gierkink