11/22/2004 12:00AM

Tiller decides to keep Simply Lovely in barn


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It already had been a rough week for trainer Bob Tiller, who was forced to retire the crack filly Winter Garden shortly after discovering that his promising 2-year-old Slew's Saga had emerged from the Coronation Futurity with chips in both knees.

So it was perhaps understandable that Tiller was gun-shy about running Simply Lovely, a 2-year-old filly whom he trains for Rocco Marcello, here in Sunday's Glorious Song Stakes. Tiller and Marcello felt that Simply Lovely, as the only triple stakes winner in the division, had the inside track in the voting for the Sovereign Award.

So Simply Lovely, who would have been odds-on in the Glorious Song, stayed in the barn and will not see action again this season.

"I wanted to do the right thing for this filly," said Tiller. "She's dead sound, but she had a tough fall. She just ran two weeks ago, and she's not a big filly."

Simply Lovely's absence left the $136,875 Glorious Song up for grabs, and the filly who seized the moment was Shout to the North, who recorded her first stakes score in the open seven-furlong feature.

Bred in California by her owners, Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, Shout to the North was making her first start since finishing fifth in the six-furlong Ontario Debutante here Aug. 22.

"She actually never really missed any training," said Mark Casse, who trains Shout to the North. "She just wasn't doing well. She wasn't eating like we wanted her to eat, and she didn't look as well as we wanted her to look.

"We just kind of were treading water with her, going along," he said. "We tried a few types of vitamin supplements, and it ended up getting her going in the right direction."

Shout to the North will not race again this year, but it has not been determined whether she will winter in California or with Casse in Ocala, Fla.

Quite a Ruckus has fever

Quite a Ruckus, also trained by Casse, finished last of seven as the favorite in the Glorious Song and was running a fever Monday morning.

Casse said his barn has been bombarded by illness this year, and the latest round also affected Accountforthegold, whom he has been looking forward to running in Saturday's Display Stakes.

"He fought a temperature all last week," said Casse. "He's back training now, but I'm not sure whether he's going to make the race or not."

Accountforthegold, a New York-bred who campaigns for his breeder, Sez Who Racing, won his maiden at five furlongs at first asking here Aug. 14, and returned almost two months later to finish a strong second in the Grade 2 Grey at 1 1/16 miles.

Winter Garden retired

Winter Garden, a 4-year-old owned by Frank DiGiulio, would have been the one to beat here in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race that she won last year. Instead, Winter Garden is looking at a life as a broodmare.

"She came out of her last race with thickness in a ligament," said Tiller. "When we ultrasounded her, they found a hole in her XYZ ligament. We were hoping to race her another year, but she goes out with a tremendous record."

Winter Garden, a Kentucky-bred by Roy out of the Bold Ruckus mare Hillsburgh Rumors, won 12 of her 18 starts, including six stakes, and finished worse than third only once while earning $902,788.

"She's one of the best horses I ever trained," said Tiller. "I'm very proud of her."

Winter Garden came within a single point, the equivalent of a third-place vote, of winner Too Late Now in the balloting for Canada's champion 3-year-old filly.

This year, Winter Garden figures to attract support in both the older filly-mare and sprinter categories.

One for Rose done for season

One for Rose, the defending champion in the older filly-mare division, is going to the farm following another fine campaign for Tucci Stable and trainer Sid Attard.

A 5-year-old Ontario-bred, One for Rose had been under consideration for the Dec. 18 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct but instead will return to action next season.

Mark One will be back next spring

Mark One, a game winner of Saturday's $157,950 Woodbine Slots Cup for Stronach Stable and trainer Danny Vella, also is calling it a season and will winter at nearby Adena Springs North with an eye toward next spring.

"He did everything we asked him to this year," said assistant trainer Ken Barber. "He earned it."

Mark One, a 5-year-old gelding, won 3 of 10 starts this year, including two Grade 3 stakes, and earned $378,988. The Slots Cup score should put Mark One in the hunt for the older male title.

Stronach operation to be reshuffled

Team Stronach's ontrack operation will be revamped here next year, with Vella going public but still expected to train a reduced number of horses for the outfit.

The effect will trickle down to Barber, who will be parting ways with Vella at the end of the meeting.

Barber will work at Adena Springs this winter but plans to return to the racetrack in one guise or another next season.

"I have a few choices," said Barber, who has been an assistant to Vella since both started out with Stronach 14 years ago.

A Bit O'Gold headed to Florida

A Bit O'Gold, beaten a head by Mark One when facing older rivals for the first time in the Slots Cup, has gone home to Kingfield Farm and will move to Florida early next month to begin preparing for next season.

"It was heartbreaking, to see him lose," said trainer Catherine Day Phillips. "He tried so hard."

A Bit O'Gold won more than $1 million this year and is a leading candidate for the Sovereign Award in the 3-year-old colt or gelding division.