08/28/2003 11:00PM

Tiller duo both live in Seaway


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Bob Tiller-trained duo of Brass in Pocket and Winter Garden both have a shot in Sunday's $140,375 Seaway Stakes, a seven-furlong dash that drew a high-quality field of 10 fillies and mares.

After prospering as a front-running router in 2002, Brass in Pocket has established herself as one of the leading female sprinters at Woodbine this year. She has won three stakes in just four starts, while using a variety of running styles.

Brass in Pocket would have been favored to win the allowance prep for the Seaway, but that entire Aug. 15 card was canceled because of a power blackout that hit the Toronto area the day before. "That hurt us," Tiller said. "I thought she would air that day."

Winter Garden is arguably the best 3-year-old filly on the grounds. She defeated older allowance opposition in the spring, after taking the six-furlong Star Shoot Stakes, and was second in the June 22 Sweet Briar Too Stakes to Harmony Lodge, who subsequently won the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga.

Winter Garden was a game second three weeks ago, in the Grade 3 Duchess Stakes, but was disqualified and placed third for drifting in at the eighth pole.

Tiller named David Clark on both fillies, and said he would probably run them both. "There's really nowhere else to run either of them for a month," Tiller said. "Both are doing very well."

El Prado Essence has been absent since finishing a troubled fifth in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too, a race she was second in last year before she won the Seaway following a nine-week vacation. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 when she defeated many of her Sunday rivals May 11 in the Grade 3 Hendrie Handicap, and usually fires off a layoff.

Whiletheiron'shot has won three in a row while running through her allowance conditions, and possesses sufficient Beyers to compete with this caliber of competition. Her inside draw isn't ideal, since she may be asked to expend some energy early in order to attain her preferred position near the lead.

Too Late Now is running back quickly off a failed turf experiment in last Sunday's Ontario Colleen Handicap. She is the early favorite for this year's Sovereign Award for champion 3-year-old filly, on the strength of her victories in the Grade 1 Selene Stakes and Woodbine Oaks.