09/24/2001 11:00PM

Strut the Stage all set for International


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Strut the Stage had his final major tune-up for the Canadian International here Sunday morning, breezing six furlongs on a yielding E.P. Taylor course. Going in company with Sam-Son Farm stablemates Only to You and Quiet Resolve, Strut the Stage was given a 1:12.20 clocking compared to Only to You's 1:12.60 and Quiet Resolve's 1:12.

Trainer Mark Frostad said the work did not go as planned.

"[Only to You] was supposed to take two lengths," said Frostad, "and she started off four to five lengths ahead. But they all worked well."

Todd Kabel, aboard for the drill, will ride Strut the Stage in the $1.5 million Canadian International, a Grade 1 race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Strut the Stage, a 3-year-old, carries 118 pounds in Saturday's 1 1/2-mile race, eight pounds less than his older rivals. Frostad called the weight difference "significant."

Only to You is slated to run in Sunday's $500,000 E.P. Taylor, a Grade 1, 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares. Quiet Resolve is scheduled to ship out next Monday for the $500,000 Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile, a Grade 3 race on Oct. 7.

Two more for International

Dawson's Legacy, seventh here in the recent Atto Mile, breezed seven furlongs in 1:28.60 on the turf here Sunday and is slated to make his third consecutive appearance in the Canadian International. Owned by Josef Stritzl and trained this year by Mike Doyle, Dawson's Legacy finished last of 12 in the 2000 International and seventh of nine in the 1999 renewal.

Patrick Husbands was aboard for the work, but will ride Williams News in the International. Williams News, due to arrive Wednesday, finished second in last year's running.

Other Taylor candidates work on turf

Several other Taylor candidates also worked over the main turf course here Sunday. Alexis and Diadella both breezed five furlongs, with the former clocked in 59.20 seconds and the latter in 1:01.80.

An unlucky fourth in last year's Taylor when trained by Mac Benson, Alexis now is trained by Cliff Hopmans for owner D. Morgan Firestone. Jono Jones has the mount for the Taylor. Diadella, an upset winner for Stronach Stables Inc. here in the recent Canadian Handicap, is trained by Malcolm Pierce and will be ridden by David Clark.

Cayman Sunset, who shipped over from England and has stayed on for the Taylor after running third in the Canadian, breezed two furlongs in 25.20 seconds. Husbands retains the mount.

Bristol Pistol, owned by Augustin Stable and trained by Benson, breezed seven furlongs on the main track in 1:30 Sunday and also is a candidate for the Taylor.

Rare Friends remains unbeaten

Trainer Bob Tiller won his 11th stakes of the season here Sunday when Rare Friends, owned by the trainer in partnership with Frank DiGiulio, took the Swynford for his third straight stakes score.

"In my opinion he had every excuse to get beat, and didn't," said Tiller, noting that Rare Friends displayed behavioral problems prior to the start, something he had done in his previous starts, and did not break well. "Only a good horse would go on with it and still win. He's a good horse."

Rare Friends, undefeated in four starts and a leading candidate for the Sovereign Award as Canada's top 2-year-old male, is nominated to the Grade 1 Grey, an open race over 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 8. A Canadian-bred, he will likely run in the Coronation Futurity at 1 1/8 miles on the main track Oct. 28.

"He's a possibility for the Grey, but I'm definitely pointing him for the Coronation," tiller said.

Salvaging his season

Highland Legacy, who won the Swynford and then the Coronation en route to divisional honors last year, worked three furlongs in

37 seconds on the main track Sunday.

A gelding owned by Empress Stable and trained by Steve Owens, Highland Legacy was a major disappointment during his Queen's Plate quest and will be looking to salvage his 3-year-old season.

"Physically, he's doing a lot better than he was," said Owens. "We just put him away for a while. We did a barrage of tests, and found he'd had a bacterial infection in his blood. We put him on some medication, and it seems to have helped him."

Owens is hoping to get Highland Legacy to the $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired colts and geldings here Nov. 24.

Big win for Cotey

Lady Shari gave first-year trainer Dave Cotey the biggest win of his budding career here Saturday when she captured the $283,250 Mazarine Stakes. A Kentucky-bred 2-year-old filly, Lady Shari also is owned by Cotey in partnership with Hugh Galbraith and Derek Ball.

Cotey said Lady Shari could run in Delaware Park's Oct. 14 Polly Drummond, a $100,000, 1 1/16-mile stakes.