10/29/2001 12:00AM

Watch out, here comes Streakin Rob!


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Streakin Rob tossed his hat into the ring for consideration as Canada's 2-year-old champion with his upset victory in last Sunday's Coronation Futurity at Woodbine.

Owned by Rob Cudney and Allan Kent, Streakin Rob was winning his first stakes race and the first of the year for his trainer, Jim Day. His victims in the Coronation included Rare Friends, a triple stakes winner while sprinting, and El Soprano, a graded stakes winner on turf.

The victory also more than justified the $7,500 outlay required to supplement Streakin Rob to the race.

"The breeders didn't nominate him," said Day, who purchased Streakin Rob for $22,000 from the local select yearling sale.

"I supplemented him in late September, and he was still a maiden at that time. Rob hemmed and hawed about supplementing, and I said to him 'If you don't put up the money I'll do it, and he'll run for me.' I guess that made him take me seriously."

Streakin Rob, who had been well beaten when making his stakes debut in the Sept. 3 Simcoe, won his maiden in his first try around two turns here Sept. 22. But he then finished fifth, beaten 5 1/2 lengths, when traveling the same 1 1/16-mile distance in the Grade 1 Grey Stakes.

Day believes several factors combined to make the Grey an unreliable indicator of his colt's ability.

"After the Simcoe he was very congested," said the trainer. "It hung on for six weeks. He was never really sick, but you could tell it had a negative effect to his air supply under the stress of racing.

"He also had a very slight niggling little shin; it was a little bit crabby after he ran a couple of starts."

Then, Day believed Streakin Rob had gained little in experience during his maiden victory.

"He just galloped around the racetrack in front," he said. "Then, for the Grey, he went from a six-horse to a 13-horse field. It wasn't a disastrous race for him, but it wasn't as good as we anticipated."

About 10 days ago, Streakin Rob's congestion suddenly cleared up. Day administered the final touch by removing the blinkers, which the colt had worn during his four outings.

"The blinkers probably should have been off for his maiden race," said Day. "But when he won, he was locked into wearing them [for the Grey]."

Day plans to run Streakin Rob in the $100,000 Display, a 1 1/16-mile stakes here Nov. 17. And the trainer is well aware that success there could give the colt a square shot at the Sovereign Award for his division, with Rare Friends, El Soprano, and Grey winner Changeintheweather the other leading contenders.

Stage Classic beats elders in Sky Classic

Stage Classic had logged plenty of miles over the past couple of months, traveling from his Woodbine base to Winnipeg for the Manitoba Derby, Edmonton for the Canadian Derby, and Vancouver for the British Columbia Derby.

But Stage Classic, a 3-year-old gelding owned by his trainer, Dave Cotey, in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith, had more than enough left to run the biggest race of his career while defeating older rivals here in Sunday's Sky Classic.

Stage Classic, who had finished second to the talented Strut the Stage on the turf here before his Western swings, was facing older foes for the first time in the 1 3/8-mile Sky Classic.

"After the B.C. race I was going to ship him out to the farm and call it quits for the year," said Cotey. "But he was going so good, and feeling so good, I decided to give him one more try on turf. If he was a much better horse on grass than dirt, he'd fit right in."

And while Cotey was not overly surprised by Stage Classic's success, the manner in which he won the Sky Classic was eye-opening.

"I thought he'd run okay," said Cotey. "But the way he handled those horses . . . he literally exploded away from the field. It looked like he wanted to go around again."

Stage Classic will be geared down over the next couple of weeks and then spend the winter at nearby Huntington Stud.

"Next year there's a series of turf races here for him, so we won't have to ship out of town," said Cotey, whose long-term hopes for Stage Classic include the Canadian International.

Ah, Feathers, the height of Fashion

Feathers was in fine fettle here Saturday, flying to a one-length victory in the Ontario Fashion Handicap.

The Fashion was the second career stakes win for Feathers and the first of the season for Ralph Biamonte, who trains the filly for the Tooth and Nail Stable of Vincent Kerrio and Kenneth Sawatzky.

Feathers was recording her third straight score since returning from a four-month layoff, as she was sidelined by a virus following her April 29 seasonal bow.

"She got really sick," said Biamonte. "She just lost all her muscle tone. She was even too weak to gallop after a while."

That time off, however, is now paying off for Feathers.

"She's fresh," said Biamonte. "She's got a little advantage, not having the trials and tribulations of running all year."

Feathers now will be pointed to the Nov. 18 Bessarabian Handicap, a Grade 3, $125,000 race for fillies and mares at seven furlongs that she won here last fall.

Farther down the road Biamonte could be looking for a spot at Laurel, since Feathers is a Maryland-bred.

And while Biamonte has received some inquiries, there are no thoughts of her joining the broodmare ranks any time soon.

"You don't get one like her too often," he said. "We might as well enjoy it."