11/30/2005 1:00AM

Turf categories up in the air

A Bit O'Gold is the only horse in the turf male category with two major victories at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Turf racing may seem a distant memory at this point of the season, with the last grass race here at Woodbine having been run Nov. 4.

There are still a couple of Canadian turf races to be decided, however, although in this case the results will be determined by the Sovereign Award voters and will be made official at the awards ceremony on Dec. 16.

In the turf male category, A Bit O'Gold was the only horse with two major turf victories here.

A Bit O'Gold, a 4-year-old gelding owned by The Two Bit Racing Stable and trained by Catherine Day Phillips, won the Chinese Cultural Centre and the Sky Classic, both Grade 2 races at 1 3/8 miles.

Jambalaya, another gelding trained by Day Phillips, for her own Kingfield Farm, also won two turf stakes this year, capturing the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' here and the Grade 3 Saranac at 1 3/16 miles at Saratoga. Both races were restricted to 3-year-olds.

Other locally based Sovereign Award eligibles who performed with distinction on the turf here this season include Silver Ticket, winner of the Grade 2 King Edward; Mobil, winner of the Halton and runner-up in the Grade 1 Atto Mile, King Edward, and Chinese Cultural Centre; and Le Cinquieme Essai, who captured the Grade 3 Connaught Cup and was third in the Atto Mile.

Vanderlin made three starts here after coming over from England this summer, winning the Grade 2 Play the King and finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Nearctic and the Atto Mile. Vanderlin also ran second, beaten a neck, in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.

Noble Stella, a 4-year-old, was the only older filly or mare to win two turf stakes here, capturing the Grade 3 Dance Smartly at 1 1/8 miles and the Flaming Page, an overnight stakes, at 1 1/2 miles.

Classic Stamp, a 5-year-old who was a Sovereign Award finalist last year, won the Grade 2 Canadian at 1 1/8 miles and finished second in the Dance Smartly.

Ambitious Cat, a 4-year-old, didn't win a stakes race but finished second in the Grade 2 Nassau and the Canadian and a close third in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor.

Top Ten List, a 3-year-old filly trained by Bob Tiller, won three turf stakes while facing her own age and sex. Two of Top Ten List's victories came in Ontario-sired stakes, the seven-furlong Passing Mood and one-mile La Prevoyante, with the other against Ontario-foaled opponents in the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Damsel.

Invitational, trained by Day Phillips, won the 1 1/8-mile Carotene and finished second to fellow 3-year-old filly Silver Highlight in the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where.

Eligible Sovereign Award voters can cast their ballots online only. Voting opened Wednesday at 9 a.m. and will close Monday at 9 a.m.

Past performances for the equine candidates and statistics for other categories are available at The Jockey Club of Canada website, jockeyclubcanada.com.

Coastal Fortress to Carroll barn

Coastal Fortress has been sold by Minshall Farm and trainer Barbara Minshall to trainer Josie Carroll, who purchased the filly as an agent for a group of clients.

An Ontario-bred 3-year-old filly, Coastal Fortress has won stakes races in each of her two campaigns while banking $349,169.

Coastal Fortress will have the winter off in Kentucky and is slated to return here next spring with Carroll.

Last year, Coastal Fortress won the 1 1/16-mile South Ocean over Ontario-sired opposition. Her 2005 stakes victory came in the La Lorgnette, an open race for 3-year-old fillies.

Two more shots before flying south

Trainer Gail Casselman-Cox generally prefers to be situated at a southerly latitude this late in the season.

But Casselman-Cox still has some unfinished business at the meeting, and will be saddling L'Argent on Friday and Tap the Phone on Saturday before heading to her winter quarters at Payson Park in Florida.

L'Argent, owned by Sprott Racing Inc., will be seeking his second win in as many starts in a $62,800 entry-level allowance race at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Bred in Kentucky, L'Argent was purchased for $230,000 at Ocala this March.

"I loved him at the sale when we bought him," said Casselman-Cox. "Unfortunately, he bucked shins badly coming out of the sale, and I left him in Florida."

L'Argent joined Casselman-Cox here in July and was a solid four-length winner of a five-furlong maiden special in his debut here Oct. 21.

"I'll take him down to Florida with me," said Casselman-Cox. "I'll probably give him a little break. He's eligible for the Ocala Breeders Sales stakes there in March."

Tap the Phone, a maiden 2-year-old filly, will be making her fifth start Saturday in a $32,000 claiming race.

Mountaineer to take Canadian bets

Beginning Friday, Canadian horseplayers will be allowed to bet directly into the host pools at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.

Woodbine's takeouts for all commingled wagers will match the Mountaineer rates of 17.25 percent for win-place-show, 19 percent for exactors and daily doubles, and 25 percent for triactors, superfectas, and pick threes.

The daily double will be a $2 minimum wager.

* The main track was closed to training for the second straight day on Wednesday. Five horses were clocked on a muddy training track.