07/23/2008 11:00PM

Top two are trying new things


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Nicki Knew and Victory Romance are the two protagonists in Saturday's $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian triple tiara at Woodbine, but neither of them has tried the turf or the 1 1/4-mile distance of the race.

Nicki Knew finished fifth, 10 lengths behind runaway winner Ginger Brew, in the nine-furlong Woodbine Oaks. She won the second leg of the series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, the 1 1/16-mile Bison City Stakes, after mounting a wide rally.

Trainer Kevin Attard said he was disappointed with Nicki Knew's Oaks, but he wasn't surprised that she rebounded in the Bison City.

"I thought she could have run better in the Oaks," Attard said. "She was trapped in behind [pacemaker] Gloriously when she started to stop. She had to pause for a moment and then gather herself back up and change paths.

"She worked good going into the Bison City, and the horses who finished just in front of her in the Oaks only beat us by two or three lengths. With a clean trip, I thought she would be able to handle those fillies, and sure enough, she did."

Attard described Nicki Knew as a natural route horse who shouldn't mind 1 1/4 miles or the grass.

"I think the farther she does, the better she'll be," Attard said. "She has some pedigree for turf. When we galloped her on the turf at Payson Park, she handled it really well. I can't see the grass being a problem."

Victory Romance changed her speedy style in the Oaks, in which she rallied three-wide from fourth to end up second. She checked in third in the Bison City.

Attard and Victory Romance's trainer, Josie Carroll, had both planned on working their horses over Woodbine's turf training course, but the turf training sessions scheduled for the last two Sundays were canceled due to rain.

Carroll was thrilled with the way Victory Romance worked three-quarters on the Polytrack in 1:12.80 on July 13.

"She did it in a beautiful fashion," Carroll said. "She's just an honest, hard-trying filly."

Wind in My Wings captured the Jessamine Stakes last fall at Keeneland, but she missed the board in each of her three outings this year.

Northern Kraze, a prominent fourth in last year's Cup and Saucer Stakes, won her maiden on the grass in her last race and looks to be in peak form.