11/12/2001 12:00AM

Win City saves his best race for last


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It was a year full of highlights for Win City, who recorded his sixth stakes victory of the season at Woodbine in Saturday's Autumn Handicap.

But owner Frank DiGiulio, while savoring every morsel of Win City's successes, allowed that the latest victory was particularly satisfying.

"It was nice to end the year on a high note, and prove he can run with older horses," said DiGiulio.

Win City had finished third behind A Fleets Dancer and Kiss a Native in the Oct. 7 Durham Cup, which marked his first try against older rivals.

"Right after the Durham, I was a little disappointed," said DiGiulio. "But considering he scoped with all that mucus, he ran a good race."

Bob Tiller, who trains Win City, reported that the gelding had been quite congested following the Durham Cup. But Win City certainly aired it out in the Autumn, leaving Kiss a Native in third place while bringing his seasonal bankroll to $876,187.

"He never ran a bad race," said DiGiulio. "He never lost two races in a row.

"There's not much else he could have done. He beat older horses, and he won three open stakes."

DiGiulio said Win City was scheduled to unwind here at the racetrack for a week or so before heading to Paul Buttigieg's farm for the winter.

"We may have to travel a little with him next year," said the owner, noting that local main-track opportunities will not be as plentiful for a Canadian-bred 4-year-old and he is not particularly keen on trying him on turf.

"There's probably no reason he shouldn't like the grass," said DiGiulio. "But he's a gelding; I want to run him until he's 5 or 6. We can't afford to take any chances with him."

In the meantime, Win City will be front and center at the Dec. 14 Sovereign Awards as the probable winner of the 3-year-old colt and gelding honors and a serious candidate for Horse of the Year.

"Sometimes I can't believe I own him," said DiGiulio.

Kiss a Native puzzles his trainer

The Autumn outcome was not as awesome for David Bell, trainer of Kiss a Native, Canada's champion 3-year-old male last season.

"He came out of the race all right," said Bell. "He just didn't really fire; turning for home, he looked like he'd win by many. I thought he was the best I'd ever had him; he wasn't."

Bell is uncertain as to his next move with Kiss a Native, who is owned by John Franks.

In the meantime, Bell has 10 stalls at Gulfstream Park and plans to campaign a string, including Changeintheweather, a 2-year-old colt who won the Grade 1 Grey Stakes here; Lush Soldier, a 2-year-old filly who won a division of the Grade 3 Natalma; and Funny Soldier, a 2-year-old colt who is scheduled to run here in Saturday's Display.

Boston Twist's one bad race was a fluke

Sunday's Glorious Song Stakes seemed to have the potential for a see-saw story line but Boston Twist had her own ideas and made short work of her six rivals under a heads-up ride by Gary Boulanger.

"We thought all along that this was a very nice filly," said Josie Carroll, who trains Boston Twist for owner William Schettine. "You can throw out that race at Keeneland, which is the only bad race she's run. Gary said she absolutely hated the racetrack."

Boston Twist was coming off impressive back-to-back sprint scores when shipped to Lexington for the Oct. 5 Alcibiades but showed little in that 1 1/16-mile stakes.

The Glorious Song was the first stakes win for Boston Twist, a Kentucky-bred 2-year-old filly who now will head to Fair Grounds.

"We'll freshen her, and look for something down the road a little bit," said the trainer, who plans to have 28 horses in New Orleans and has another three stalls at Gulfstream.

Carroll's Fair Grounds contingent also should include Mapp Hill, a 2-year-old colt who is scheduled to start in the Display, and Magic Flute, a 3-year-old gelding who finished second to Win City here in the Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Handicap.

Owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, Mapp Hill graduated at first asking here in May but then finished a well-beaten seventh in the Grade 3 Flash at Belmont.

"He didn't have enough speed for those horses," said Carroll. "So we turned him out for a while, and freshened him up."

Mapp Hill returned to action with a game win in a seven-furlong allowance here Oct. 6 and will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles for the $100,000 Display.

"He's a horse with endless energy," said Carroll, "and I hope that will translate into him getting the distance."

Magic Flute, owned by Earle Mack, left Monday morning for Fair Grounds and could be pointed for the $100,000 Woodchopper, an about 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds there Dec. 22.

Lady Shari preps for Demoiselle

Lady Shari worked five furlongs in 1:01 on the training track Monday and remains on target for the Grade 2 Demoiselle, a $200,000, 1 1/8-mile race for 2-year-old fillies at Aqueduct on Nov. 24. Exercise rider Ramon Dominguez was aboard for the drill.

"She did it very easily," said trainer Dave Cotey, who also owns Lady Shari in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith. "She wasn't even blowing when she came back."

Feathers sharpens for Bessarabian

Feathers, who has been assigned highweight of 121 pounds for Sunday's Grade 3 Bessarabian Handicap, breezed four furlongs at Fort Erie Monday in 49 seconds.

A 4-year-old owned by Tooth and Nail Stable and trained by Ralph Biamonte, Feathers will be looking for her fourth straight victory in the $100,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race that she won last year.