10/18/2006 12:00AM

Top two in '05 on the scene for a rematch


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Relaxed Gesture and Meteor Storm, the one-two finishers in last year's $2 million Canadian International, arrived here at Woodbine early Wednesday morning for their rematch in Sunday's Grade 1, 1 1/2-mile turf feature.

Relaxed Gesture, trained by Christophe Clement, vanned up from Belmont along with stablemate Naissance Royale, who is slated to run in Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor for fillies and mares.

Garrett Gomez will ride both Relaxed Gesture in the Canadian International, which was expected to draw a field of 10 when entries were taken on Thursday, and Naissance Royale, who is among 12 probables for the E.P. Taylor.

Meteor Storm, trained by Wally Dollase, vanned up from Keeneland and will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who also is scheduled to ride Barancella for trainer Bobby Frankel in the 1 1/4-mile E.P. Taylor.

Castellano was aboard Meteor Storm for last year's Canadian International, while Corey Nakatani rode Relaxed Gesture.

All horses for the Canadian International and E.P. Taylor must be in their stalls here no later than 11oa.m. Friday in accordance with Woodbine's big-race surveillance program.

Blood samples will be taken for testing and storage, and entrants will be subject to security spot checks up until 6 a.m. Sunday, when full-scale surveillance will be implemented.

Entrants for Sunday's other major turf stakes, the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic at six furlongs, are not subject to the surveillance program.

As of Wednesday morning, the only Canadian International contestant who had yet to arrive was Go Deputy, who is trained by Todd Pletcher at Belmont and will be shipping up along with E.P. Taylor candidate Ready's Gal.

John Velazquez has the call on both Go Deputy and Ready's Gal.

Velazquez has won the last two runnings of the E.P. Taylor, riding Honey Ryder for Pletcher last year and Commercante for Frankel in 2004.

Other E.P. Taylor contestants whose arrivals were pending include Barancella and Latice.

Turf called 'on the soft side'

Meanwhile, the condition of the turf course was described as being "on the soft side of good" by the connections of several European invaders following a training session here Wednesday.

Blue Monday, Collier Hill, Kastoria, and The Last Drop, who arrived on a flight from England last Sunday, all trained over the turf for the Canadian International.

Rounding out the field for the Canadian International will be locally based Sky Conqueror, Jambalaya, and Last Answer.