10/15/2003 12:00AM

Will Tigertail extend family tradition?


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It's not unusual for the name Collet to be associated with a winner of the E.P. Taylor Stakes.

Trainer Robert Collet, based in France, sent out Truly a Dream to win the 1994 Taylor at 7-2 and Choc Ice to capture the 2001 running at 31-1.

This year, Rodolphe Collet will be looking to follow his father's example when he saddles Tigertail, who should be among the favorites in Sunday's Grade 1, $750,000 turf race for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles.

Rodolphe Collet was here in 1994 with his father, who also sent out Volochine to finish third in that year's Grade 1 Canadian International.

"I know the track; that's why I came here," said Rodolphe Collet, who checked in with Tigertail on Sunday. "It's difficult to travel, when you don't know a place."

Tigertail, a 4-year-old who was unraced at 2, has done her share of traveling after making the first eight starts of her career in France.

After opening her current campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt at Longchamp on March 30, Tigertail journeyed to Italy and finished second in the Group 1 Presidente della Republica, a 1 1/4-mile turf race on May 11.

The winner that day - the 4-year-old colt Rakti - finished second in his only subsequent appearance to the talented Nayef in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's at Ascot.

"I gave her an easy race in the Harcourt, to prepare for the Presidente della Republica," said Collet, whose next major target for Tigertail was the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks on Aug. 20.

"But I didn't want her to go from May to August, without a race."

Collet repeated the earlier pattern, sending out Tigertail to a ninth-place finish in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at Longchamp on June 29, which was her prep for the Yorkshire Oaks at the same 1 1/2-mile distance.

In the Oaks, Tigertail finished fourth, beaten 5 3/4 lengths by Islington, one of the leading candidates for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Zee Zee Top, who finished a half-length behind Tigertail in sixth place in the Oaks, came back to win the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera in her next start at Longchamp Oct. 5.

"She ran well, but it was a little bit too far for her," said Collet, who believes Tigertail will be more comfortable cutting back to 1 1/4 miles.

"She has more speed than she did before," he said.

While Collet said Tigertail "loves firm ground," he is not particularly concerned about the condition of the turf course Sunday.

"She looks great," he said. "But it's a wide-open race. I think everybody has got a chance."

Tigertail will be ridden by Brice Blanc, who also has the mount on Bowman Mill for Sunday's Grade 1, $1.5 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

Dickinson always dangerous

Bowman Mill, a 5-year-old who has made only nine career starts, is coming off a win here in the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 3/8 miles of soft turf on Sept. 28, but could get lost in the shuffle during the buildup to the International.

A Kentucky-bred owned by Dr. John Chandler, Bowman Mill returned to Tapeta Farm, the Maryland base of trainer Michael Dickinson, following the Sky Classic. The horse breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 on "good" going there Monday, and was slated to be back in at Woodbine Thursday.

The peril of underestimating a Dickinson runner was underlined here last Saturday, when Master William, a Canadian-bred 2-year-old whom he trains for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, won the $250,000 Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of turf at 13-1.

Master William had started just once before the Cup and Saucer, finishing nine lengths back in fourth in a one-mile maiden turf race at Colonial Downs July 8.

"The Cup and Saucer had always been his main objective, from back in April," said Dickinson. "In his first race he didn't run very well, so I went back to the drawing board and redesigned things.

"He had some good breezes on the farm, and I ran him in a couple of private schooling races.

"He was prepared for the [Cup and Saucer], but I didn't think he would win," added Dickinson. "He's a very lazy horse in the mornings; he hasn't shown us much. We were all surprised when he won."

Dickinson plans to send Master William back to Woodbine for the Coronation Futurity, a $250,000 race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds over 1 1/8 miles on the main track Nov. 1.

"He's trained on the dirt a little bit," said Dickinson. "We only gave him easy breezes, but he seemed to handle it all right."