07/05/2002 11:00PM

Sweetest Thing holds off 'Angel'

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Favored Sweetest Thing outlasted a persistent Mountain Angel to win the Grade 3, $210,100 Dance Smartly Handicap by a nose at Woodbine Saturday.

Dancethruthedawn, who was to have been coupled with Mountain Angel in a Sam-Son Farm entry, was scratched from the 1 1/8-mile turf event, leaving a field of seven fillies and mares.

Rosthern and Nymphenburg hooked up on the front end and dueled through honest fractions while being stalked by Mountain Angel. Sweetest Thing was sixth on the backstretch, and commenced a four-wide rally on the turn under Jim McAleney. She got by Mountain Angel just inside the eighth pole, and looked like she was going to edge away, but Mountain Angel battled back.

Rosthern finished 2 1/2 lengths back in third. The final time was a 1:45.72 over firm turf.

"We had a nice trip," said McAleney. "I have to give a lot of credit to [Mountain Angel] because of the way she fought back bravely along the inside and turned it into a real good horse race."

Sweetest Thing, last year's champion turf female in Canada, returned $3.50 while banking $129,360 in her first start for Lael Stable. Roger Attfield trains her.