10/17/2002 12:00AM

Scotman tries new surface in Lawless

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Scotman was the talk of Alberta two years ago, winning five stakes en route to being named the province's horse of the year and champion 3-year-old.

But Scotman has struggled there over the past two seasons, prompting owners Gordon, Nancy, and Scott Wilson to send him to Woodbine and trainer John Cardella.

On Saturday, Cardella is hoping the change of scenery and racing surface will pay dividends for Scotman, who will be trying turf for the first time in the one-mile Bunty Lawless Stakes.

The Wilsons sought out Cardella because he had trained Classical Romance, a half-sister to Scotman who was bred by Gordon Wilson but was sold at a yearling sale in Edmonton.

Cardella had claimed Classical Romance for $62,500 from her second career start here Aug. 25, 2000. The filly went on to become a stakes winner of $196,227 before being sold as a broodmare for $70,000 to Kentucky interests last fall.

"Gord [Wilson] came here last summer, and I met him at the races," Cardella said. "He asked if he could see the filly, and he was quite impressed with the look of her and all that."

The Classical Romance connection made Cardella follow Scotman's career, and when Gordon Wilson left a message last month the trainer didn't take long to answer.

"He wanted me to have Scotman, to train - he had the Bunty Lawless in mind," said Cardella, noting that the main reason for Wilson's interest in trying Scotman on the grass was that the horse was sired by Ascot Knight. "I said it would be a pleasure."

On Sept. 7, Scotman finished third in the 1 3/8-mile Speed to Spare at Northlands Park. One week later, Cardella saw Scotman in the flesh for the first time when he picked up the horse at Windfields Farm. Following another two weeks, Scotman was beaten 2 3/4 lengths when finishing fourth in the seven-furlong off-the-turf prep for the Bunty Lawless.

"I was a little disappointed; I wanted to see if he handled grass," Cardella said. "But I was very pleased with the way he ran, especially going seven furlongs off a mile and three-eighths."

Todd Kabel, who was aboard for Scotman's Woodbine bow, was also aboard for the horse's turf works here Sept. 25 and Oct. 9.

"He was pleased with the way he worked last time," Cardella said. "The horse is feeling a lot better now than he was before; he's doing well. I'm very confident he'll run a good one."

Lil Personalitee goes for stakes No. 2

The Cardella-trained Lil Personalitee, a 5-year-old who won his first stakes in the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse here May 11, will be looking to add to his laurels in the $150,000 Woodbine Slots Cup over the same distance here Nov. 9.

Also claimed by Cardella for $62,500 for the California Stable here in August 2000, Lil Personalitee is coming off a rather disappointing effort Oct. 5 in the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup, in which he finished fourth after breaking last in the field of eight.

Cardella, concerned over the bad break, is satisfied there was a tangible reason.

"Four or five days went by, and he had a problem with a quarter-crack in his hind foot," Cardella said. "It may have just been starting - he knew it was there, and was a little bit tender on it when he went to put his weight on it."

Olympian sent to farm

Olympian, who was claimed for $40,000 from his first lifetime start here three years ago and has gone on to be a stakes winner of $404,493, has been sent to the farm after disappointing in his last four appearances.

"He had too many problems to continue," Cardella said. "He'll get four or five months off, and I'll bring him in next spring."

In the meantime, Cardella is hoping to strike gold with a 2-year-old filly he claimed from her first start last Friday.

Beautiful Baroness, a 6 3/4-length winner when tagged for $40,000, is slated to make her next start in allowance company as a prelude to an appearance in the Nov. 10 Glorious Song Stakes.

The Glorious Song, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, is worth $125,000.

Mulligan the Great goes all the way

Mulligan the Great seized command shortly after the start, and never looked back to take the $131,250 Deputy Minister Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths here Wednesday night.

Mulligan the Great set wind-aided fractions of 22.06 and 44.40 seconds while being pressed by Sophie's Choice in the seven-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Forever Grand, the even-money favorite, stalked the pace on the outside, while second choice Mighty Quinn lagged behind in the six-horse field after getting left badly at the break.

Mulligan the Great began to draw off at the top of the stretch, and went on to complete the distance in 1:22.96 over a good track.

Trainer Cliff Hopmans felt that Mulligan the Great's poor previous effort, in an $80,000 optional claimer three weeks ago, was a result of the horse not being accustomed to the lights.

"We've been training him under the lights at 6 a.m. every single day, and it's paid off" Hopmans said. "He was nice and relaxed tonight."

Mulligan the Great, a gelded son of Great Gladiator, returned $11.40 and earned $78,750 for owner Charles Simmons.

Mister Coop was a clear second, and Sophia's Prince was third. Akbar, Forever Grand, and Mighty Quinn completed the order of finish.

* Daily Racing Form will host a Breeders' Cup seminar beginning at 11 a.m. on the second floor of the grandstand here on Saturday. Free copies of Daily Racing Form's Breeders' Cup Advance will be available, while supplies last.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink