10/04/2004 12:00AM

Simply Lovely eyes stakes No. 2


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Simply Lovely will try to win her second straight stakes in Wednesday's $134,500 Victorian Queen, a six-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

Simply Lovely, a $90,000 yearling purchase by owner Rocco Marcello, has already earned $93,000 in just two starts.

In her six-furlong debut, Simply Lovely was a stalking second to Imagine the Ruckus. She turned the tables on Imagine the Ruckus in the restricted Muskoka Stakes on Sept. 5, winning by 2 1/4 lengths after a front-running journey. Simply Lovely's seven-furlong clocking of 1:25.20 was good for a 70 Beyer Figure.

"She's tough," trainer Bob Tiller said. "She jumped up and won the [Muskoka], and I wasn't really expecting that one."

Tiller said Simply Lovely has trained forwardly heading into the Victorian Queen.

"She's come back with two solid works, doing it easily," Tiller said.

Tiller said Simply Lovely caught his eye at the local Fasig-Tipton yearling sale in September of 2003.

"I gave $90,000 for her as a yearling, so I had to have liked her," he said. "I trained her mother [Belle Affair] for Garland Williamson. She only broke her maiden, but she had a lot of ability; she just had some problems."

Tiller was also looking at the Grade 2 Mazarine Stakes last Sunday for Simply Lovely, but said he chose the Victorian Queen because of the easier company.

"Six furlongs is a little short for her, but I didn't want to stretch her out against American-breds right now," he said, referring to the Mazarine. "I think she'll get a mile and a sixteenth. I'm mainly looking at the Princess Elizabeth Stakes with her, and other Canadian-bred races."

The $250,000 Princess Elizabeth will be run at 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 23.

Coastal Fortress could be the main threat to Simply Lovely. Trained by Barb Minshall, she got away slowly when fifth in her opener, and subsequently ran second to Bosskiri in the restricted Nandi Stakes.

Coastal Fortress won her maiden in a seven-furlong event Sept. 4, scoring by a neck over Dancehall Deelites, who came back to finish third in the Mazarine.

Wisdomisgold was third in the six-furlong Nandi in her third start. She won her maiden in the restricted Juvenile Stakes at Fort Erie Sept. 4, running six furlongs in 1:12.20.

I'm a Cheetah won her only start July 3, in a five-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired fillies.