06/26/2003 11:00PM

'Teewee' suited by Damsel pace

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Teewee's Hope will drop in class following a fine effort in open stakes company to meet Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies in Sunday's $166,500 Ontario Damsel Stakes at Woodbine.

The 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Damsel, run on turf, is loaded with speed, which should bode well for late-running Teewee's Hope, assuming that the course is playing fairly.

Teewee's Hope won her maiden second time out, against $50,000 maidens last summer, before becoming a solid competitor at the first-level allowance category. She finished a close second the only time she tried the turf at 2, and she capped her juvenile campaign with a come-from-behind win going a mile and 70 yards in the slop.

Teewee's Hope finished far up the main track when she returned from a layoff April 19. She then encountered traffic problems while closing along the inside under jockey Richard Dos Ramos last time over yielding turf in the Alywow Stakes May 31, finishing second, two lengths behind favored Hour of Justice.

Trainer John MacKenzie feels Teewee's Hope would have given Hour of Justice a run for her money if she had had a clear run in the 6 1/2-furlong Alywow. He said Dos Ramos told him that, had Teewee's Hope gotten clear earlier, "she could have won."

MacKenzie said he believes Teewee's Hope is capable of adapting to a variety of situations, and isn't just a closing turf specialist.

"I'd rather see this race going a little farther, but if you look at her form, she tries everywhere she runs," MacKenzie said. "She likes to stay back a little, but you can ask her to move along, too."

MacKenzie said Teewee's Hope's laid-back demeanor makes it hard to get a handle on how she is doing heading into the Damsel.

"It's pretty hard to get a line on her," MacKenzie said. "Sometimes, you can't tell whether she's feeling good, or if she's alive. Half the time, she just stands there quietly. She trains the same way - real quiet."

Also entered in the Damsel are Speak Out, Dressed for Action, Gladiator's Drift, Dee's Love, Miss Crissy, Miss Santa Anita, Tamara, and Elusive Thought.

Elusive Thought, victorious in the May 4 Fury Stakes, will be making her grass debut. Sired by top grass miler Elusive Quality, she should be prominent from the outset as the 123-pound highweight.

Dressed for Action recently finished second against Ontario-sired male opposition at six furlongs over soft turf in the Bold Ruckus Stakes.

Miss Crissy, a two-time stakes winner on the main track at 2, dueled four wide on the lead before finishing third in the Alywow.