10/12/2003 11:00PM

Strong local team for Taylor

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The locals have had a tough go of it in recent editions of the E.P. Taylor Stakes, the Grade 1 turf race for fillies and mares that is the companion feature to the Canadian International here Sunday.

Hero's Love, in 1993, and Fly for Avie, in 2000, have been the only Woodbine-based runners to win the Taylor in its last 25 runnings, with European 3-year-old fillies taking away most of the laurels.

The tide could turn this year, however, with the local quartet of Diadella, Inish Glora, Heyahohowdy, and Byzantine ready to take on all comers in Sunday's $750,000 E.P. Taylor over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Diadella, a Kentucky-bred 6-year-old owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Malcolm Pierce, won the 2001 Canadian Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race that is the major local prep for the Taylor. She finished eighth in the Taylor itself, beaten just 4 3/4 lengths following a troubled trip.

Last year, Diadella seemed set to improve on that Taylor performance only to emerge from her second-place finish in the Canadian with a hairline fracture of a tibia, necessitating a long rest.

Diadella will be making just her fourth start of the year here Sunday and is coming off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Canadian, where she was beaten 3 1/2 lengths after lacking clear sailing during the stretch run.

On Sunday, Diadella had her final major tune-up for the Taylor under her new jockey, Patrick Husbands, going five furlongs in 1:00.80, handily, over a firm turf course.

"I was quite impressed," Pierce said. "She did it very easily and Patrick was very happy with her. She's in great order."

Inish Glora works seven furlongs

Inish Glora, who has developed into a top-notch turf mare this year for trainer Mac Benson, also worked on the turf course Monday, breezing seven furlongs in 1:26 under exercise rider Gaye Lynch.

"I was very pleased with it," said Benson, noting that Inish Glora picked up the pace through the final half-mile of her workout. "All you want to do is keep them where you've got them."

A 5-year-old owned by Bob Costigan, Inish Glora was a 1 3/4-length winner of the Canadian, which was her second stakes victory of the year.

Inish Glora also won the Aug. 4 Victoriana, a 1 1/16-mile turf race restricted to Ontario-sired fillies and mares. Heyahohowdy finished second.

Leading rider Todd Kabel, who took over aboard Inish Glora this summer, retains the mount.

Heyahohowdy seeks third straight stakes

Heyahohowdy, a 4-year-old owned by the Kelynack Racing Stable of Glenn Harvey, will be seeking her third straight stakes score in the Taylor.

Trained by Abraham Katryan, Heyahohowdy defeated runner-up Inish Glora by a neck in the Belle Geste, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for Canadian-bred fillies and mares here Aug. 24.

Heyahohowdy then stretched out to 1 1/2 miles on the turf for the Sept. 7 Flaming Page and won by three-quarters of a length. Emile Ramsammy, who was sidelined when Heyahohowdy won the Flaming Page under Ray Sabourin, will return for the Taylor.

Close but no cigar so far for Byzantine

Byzantine, owned by Royal Oak Farm and trained by Bruce Pollock, hasn't won a stakes this year but has come close.

A 7-year-old, Byzantine finished third in the Nassau, Dance Smartly, and Belle Geste and sixth in the Canadian, beaten 4 1/4 lengths.

Jono Jones is Byzantine's regular rider.

My Vintage Port may snag Sovereign

My Vintage Port's victory in last Sunday's $250,000 Princess Elizabeth has vaulted her into the lead for the 2-year-old filly division's 2003 Sovereign Award.

Owned by her trainer, Ken Parsley, in partnership with Richard Pettifer, My Vintage Port was purchased for $8,500. In addition to the Princess Elizabeth, she won the Muskoka, a seven-furlong yearling sales stakes here on Sept. 1.

Nashinda and Maple Syrple, arguably the most talented 2-year-old fillies to appear here this year, went to the sidelines before making the three Canadian starts required for consideration in the Sovereign Award balloting.

Dream About, the Mazarine winner, could have locked up a Sovereign but finished fourth in the Princess Elizabeth. No other member of the division has won more than one stakes race here.

"It boggles my mind," Parsley said at the barn Monday morning. "When you buy something for $8,500, you just want to get them to the races and hope they can run a little bit. It's like a fairy tale."

Parsley is quick to praise Jono Jones for his role in My Vintage Port's Princess Elizabeth triumph.

"Jono rode a great race," said Parsley.

"I knew if my filly was close, and got a nice pace to run at, she'd be awfully tough. She's got a great turn of foot."

All being well, My Vintage Port could run back here Oct. 29 in the $125,000 South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies.

"We'll see how she is," Parsley said. "If she shows me she's still got some gas in the tank, she could run there. If I feel she's tired, I'll give her the rest of the year off."

Master William wins another for Dickinson

Saturday's $250,000 Cup and Saucer went to Master William, a maiden who was making just his second career start for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Michael Dickinson.

Master William was the second stakes winner of the meeting for the Maryland-based Dickinson, who also sent up Bowman Mill for his victory in the Sept. 28 Sky Classic.

Bowman Mill is slated to check back into Woodbine on Wednesday for Saturday's $1.5 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Patrick Husbands, who picked up the mount on Master William, won his 13th stakes of the meet.