07/01/2004 11:00PM

South Bay Cove a heavy favorite

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - South Bay Cove, Woodbine's fastest 2-year-old filly, will be a prohibitive favorite in Sunday's My Dear Stakes, a five-furlong dash worth $137,625.

South Bay Cove is out of My Dear winner Fantasy Lake, Canada's champion 2-year-old filly in 1998, who like South Bay Cove was owned by Windhaven and trained by Roger Attfield. South Bay Cove made quite a splash in her May 22 debut, winning a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special here in a time of 52.80 seconds, good for a Beyer Figure of 87.

Attfield said South Bay Cove, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, hasn't missed a beat since she began training in Florida.

"She developed nicely over the winter," Attfield said. "She was obviously going to be early, if she didn't have any problems. We brought her from Payson Park up to Keeneland, and she got a lot of education there."

Robert Landry inherits the mount on South Bay Cove from Todd Kabel, who is riding favored Eye of the Sphynx in the Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie Sunday. Landry worked her a half-mile over the main track Tuesday in 46.60, which was the fastest of 10 moves at the distance."

"She went phenomenal when I worked her the other morning," Landry said. "She did it pretty easily. I'm looking forward to riding her."

Landry, who was also the regular rider of Fantasy Lake, said Fantasy Lake was easier to handle than South Bay Cove.

"[South Bay Cove] is a little hotter than Fantasy Lake, who was pretty laid back," Landry said. "Being by Fusaichi Pegasus, she's eligible to be a little bit squirrelly, but she's a nice filly."

Time Saver, who also won her only start, will likely be the second choice in the seven-horse field. She got a 71 Beyer when she won a June 6 maiden special by 4 1/2 lengths for trainer Gail Casselman, who said she was somewhat surprised by Time Saver's big effort.

"I thought she would run well," Casselman said, "but I wasn't sure that she would run that well. I really hadn't wound her up. She pretty much did it on natural ability."

Time Saver has done well in the interim, according to Casselman.

"I gave her about a week off after she ran," Casselman said. "I worked her three-eighths and a half on her own, and it was the first time she'd ever worked on her own. She was pretty mature about it. She dropped down on the rail, and breezed right along. I was pretty impressed."