11/01/2001 12:00AM

Tiller ready to play two more stakes aces


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Bob Tiller already has had far and away his best year running in stakes, with 11 wins at Woodbine plus the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie.

And while several of his star performers now are done for the season, Tiller still has a couple of stakes bullets left to fire, with Madame Red entered in Saturday's Maple Leaf, and Win City scheduled to conclude his campaign a week later in the Autumn Handicap.

Madame Red, owned by the Norseman Racing Stable of Howard Walton, is coming off a 9 1/4-length victory over fellow 3-year-old fillies here in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette Stakes, which was run over a sloppy surface.

She will be the junior member of the eight-horse field for the Maple Leaf, and the 1 1/4-mile distance will be the longest she has attempted.

"She just has to go out and do it," said Tiller. "She's fit, ready, able, and willing. I'd like to think she'd go that far; it's a long way to go, for all of them."

Madame Red, with 5 wins from 9 starts, already has banked $189,252 this season. But that total pales in comparison with the dollars racked up by Win City, who has earned $777,907 while winning 5 of 8 outings.

Win City, owned by Frank DiGiulio Jr., has led the Tiller forces this year with wins in the Queenston, Marine, Plate Trial, Prince of Wales, and Colonel R.S. McLaughlin, plus a second-place finish in the Queen's Plate.

Although he finished third in his first try against older rivals, Win City was beaten just a neck for second money by Kiss a Native and was congested following the race.

"He seems fine now - he worked really good the other day," said Tiller, noting that Win City had breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 in the slop here last Thursday. "He's amazing."

A victory by Win City in the Grade 3 Autumn also would go a long way toward squelching a possible Sovereign Award challenge from Alberta-based Fancy As, who wrapped up his campaign with a win over older horses in the Grade 3 British Columbia Premier's at Hastings Park.

Rare loss for Rare Friends

Rare Friends, owned by Tiller and DiGiulio, suffered his first loss in five starts when finishing sixth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, in last Sunday's Coronation Futurity.

A winner of three sprint stakes, Rare Friends rated nicely in the 1 1/8-mile Coronation and launched what looked to be a winning bid before coming up short in the final furlong.

"He couldn't get the distance," said Tiller. "He made a move like he might do it."

While Rare Friends, a gelding, came out of the Coronation in good order, he is unlikely to see action again this season.

"He's done his thing; he's been a great 2-year-old for us," said Tiller. "I want to have him ready for the early races next year.

"I don't know whether he's going to be a classic distance horse, but up to a mile he'll be very tough."

Rare Friends, a contender for Sovereign Award honors in the 2-year-old male division, has earned $247,365.

Meadow Gem out for year

Meadow Gem, winner of the Duchess Stakes for Tiller this summer, underwent surgery Tuesday and is through for the season.

"She was operated on for a very small flake in the top capsule of her right knee," said Tiller, who also is a part-owner of the 3-year-old filly along with L Q Racing Stable and Kinghaven Farm.

"She'll winter at Kinghaven and we'll get her going here the first of February - there are a couple of stakes for her in the spring.

"She's a good filly; she'll be back."

Meadow Gem was 4 for 6 in her first year at the races. She was beaten a total of three-quarters of a length in her other two outings, both of which came in stakes, and earned $208,012.

Galadriel wins South Ocean

Galadriel, a good-looking daughter of Ascot Knight, graduated over Bright Knight, another maiden by Ascot Knight, in Wednesday's $104,000 South Ocean Stakes at Woodbine.

Galadriel pressed the pace throughout the 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired juvenile fillies, and assumed command from front-running Bright Knight at the top of the stretch. She gradually widened her lead in the drive, and got home on top by two lengths in a time of 1:46.45.

Spanish Decree finished 8 1/2 lengths back of Bright Knight in third, while favored Parisia was a disappointing fourth in the seven-horse field.

"I didn't expect her to win," said Galadriel's trainer, Roger Attfield, "She's been kind of temperamental, but she's improved with every race.

Attfield said he thought the filly would benefit from running a route, and that "I think she'll be a nice 3-year-old." David Clark rode the winner, who returned $5.40 as the second choice and earned $62,400 for Kinghaven Farm.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink