09/21/2006 11:00PM

Two hope for launch into E.P. Taylor


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Flaming Page, a $100,000 overnight stakes for fillies and mares, ordinarily wouldn't be much more than a footnote on Woodbine's Sunday program, headlined by the Grade 2, $300,000 Sky Classic.

But this Flaming Page has the potential to become an important prep for the E.P. Taylor Stakes, just as the Sky Classic does for the Canadian International here on the same Oct. 22 program.

Noble Stella, trained by Roger Attfield, and Olaya, trained by Graham Motion, both are Grade 2 stakes winners who could use the Flaming Page as a stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Noble Stella, 5, has won three turf stakes south of the border this season, including the Grade 3 Glens Falls at 1 3/8 miles at Saratoga in her last start, Sept. 4.

"We think she's in good shape," said Attfield. "She's been in good shape all year."

Olaya, based in Maryland with trainer Graham Motion, was seventh as the Glens Falls favorite but had finished two lengths ahead of Noble Stella as the runner-up when they first met in Gulfstream's Grade 3 Orchid at 1 1/2 miles on turf this spring.

Motion, who also sent Better Talk Now here for the Sky Classic, believes Olaya's Glens Falls performance should be discounted.

"Her last race was just a disaster," said Motion. 'The only thing I can put it down to is I think she's a very nervous filly, and the crowd at Saratoga unraveled her.

"She'd never run in this country under those kind of circumstances, and she got very shook up before the race."

Olaya, 4, was a listed stakes winner in France and won the Grade 2 Long Island Handicap in her North American debut at Aqueduct last fall, defeating older rivals at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

This year, Olaya won under fourth-level allowance terms at Gulfstream and then finished second in three consecutive stakes prior to the Glens Falls.

"I really would love to run her in the E.P. Taylor," said Motion. "I hadn't really planned to run her before then, but the way she ran last time I thought I had to get another race into her, and this was the ideal spot."

The field of seven for the Flaming Page also includes invaders Milwaukee and Moon Dolly plus locals Murani, Virginia Plain, and Foamy Water, who is trained by Attfield but will run as a separate betting interest.