10/31/2007 11:00PM

Shot Gun Ela fresh for repeat bid

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Shot Gun Ela had her finest hour in last year's Ontario Fashion, when she led throughout the six furlongs to record her first stakes victory.

On Saturday, Shot Gun Ela will be looking for a reprise when she faces nine rivals in the $125,000 Ontario Fashion for fillies and mares.

"She's doing excellent," said Ross Armata, who trains Shot Gun Ela. "She's doing everything right."

There is one major difference in Shot Gun Ela's approach to her second Ontario Fashion, however. Last year, Shot Gun Ela was making her seventh start of the season in the Ontario Fashion and was seeking her second straight win and third of the campaign.

This year, at age 6, Shot Gun Ela has raced just twice, finishing third in both the Ballade over six furlongs here June 23 and the Rainbow Connection over five furlongs on turf at Fort Erie on Aug. 19.

Both the Ballade and the Rainbow Connection are restricted to Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

"We wanted to stay in Ontario sire stakes, but there are not too many spots you can go in unless you go longer," said Armata. "We didn't have any other races we could go in, either. We could have run in the prep, but the owners decided it was a little too close, so we'll take our best shot here."

Roving Angel, Count to Three, and Saoirse Cat, the one-two-three finishers in the six-furlong prep here Oct. 14, all are back in the Ontario Fashion lineup.

Meanwhile, Shot Gun Ela will be making her first appearance in almost 11 weeks.

The good news is that Shot Gun Ela has scored twice off longer layoffs, winning her seasonal debuts here in 2005 and 2006.

"She runs well fresh," said Armata.

Cryptonite Kid's target switches to Display

Trainer Danny Vella had been considering sending out both Cool Gator and Cryptonite Kid here in Sunday's $250,000 Coronation Futurity, a 1 1/8-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds. But when entries were taken Thursday, only Cool Gator was in the lineup.

Cryptonite Kid also was a bang-up second in his last start, which came here Oct. 14 in the 1o1/16-mile Cup and Saucer in his fourth race, all on turf

"He ran his heart out in the Cup and Saucer," said Vella. "The spacing for the Coronation is poor, coming back in three weeks from a really tough turf race into a 1 1/8- mile race.

"To me it's a little too quick for a 2-year-old, especially if they run hard."

Cryptonite Kid, who also finished a good fourth in the Grade 3 Summer over one mile, still is slated to try the main track this year, but his target now is the $125,000 Display, a 1 1/16-mile race here Nov. 24.

In the meantime Cool Gator is looming as the horse to beat in the Coronation Futurity, which attracted a field of six. He is coming off a close second-place finish in the Grade 3 Grey over 1 1/16 miles in his third outing Oct. 8.

"The distance should be well within him," said Vella. "I think he'll go even farther."

Vella also was enthused over Cool Gator's major drill for the Coronation. He caught Cool Gator galloping out a mile in 1:41.80 after working six furlongs in 1:13.80 here last Sunday.

Vella has two set for Maple Leaf

Vella does plan to run a pair in next Saturday's $175,000 Maple Leaf with Like a Gem and Wow Me Free slated for the 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares.

Like a Gem, an Ontario-bred 4-year-old, will be coming into the Maple Leaf off two straight turf victories.

Wow Me Free, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old, will be making her first start since finishing sixth in the Flaming Page over 1 1/2 miles of turf here Sept. 23.

Like a Gem's recent successes came over yielding going as she won a third-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 12 and doubled up in the one-mile River Memories last Saturday. That would make the Maple Leaf the third start for Like a Gem in slightly more than four weeks.

"You're always worried a little bit, but she's a big, strong filly," said Vella, who added that Like a Gem was playing at the end of her last two races.

"I don't think either race was a really hard race for her - the last one maybe a little more than the one before - but she seems to have bounced back."

While Like a Gem has yet to win on Polytrack she has run well in two starts on the surface, including a second-place finish to Bear Now in the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'n' Dale this past June.

Like a Gem also is proven at 1 1/4 miles, She won at that distance over yielding turf in the Wonder Where last July.

Wow Me Free was making her local bow in the Flaming Page after racing in Maryland, New York, and West Virginia for trainer Rodney Jenkins.

"We got her for this particular race," said Vella. "We ran her in the Flaming Page because we thought she might like the turf, but it didn't set up for her."

In her start prior to the Flaming Page, which came on July 21 in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks over 1 1/4 miles at Belmont, Wow Me Free had been beaten 5 3/4 lengths as the fifth-place finisher behind the likes of Octave and Lear's Princess.

"She's really blossomed in the cooler weather," said Vella. "I think she's all right."