09/14/2001 11:00PM

Win City triumphs in McLaughlin

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Queen's Plate runner-up Win City overcame a slow pace to prevail as the heavy favorite in Saturday's Grade 3, $107,600 Col. R. S. McLaughlin Handicap for 3-year-olds at Woodbine.

Win City was making his first start since July 22, when he won the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.

"I was just worried about him being fit enough," said trainer Bob Tiller, who plans on running Win City back in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby on Sept. 29 at Thistledown. "We didn't train him very hard the last seven weeks, so I'm very proud of him."

Longshot Devil Valentine set fractions of :23.75 and :48.20 in the 1 1/8-mile event while being pressed by Magic Flute. Win City trailed the four-horse field early under jockey Constant Montpellier, and made a four-wide bid for the lead midway on the backstretch.

Win City began to edge away from Brushing Bully at the eighth pole, and coasted home on top by a length over a closing Magic Flute. Brushing Bully was another three-quarters of a length back in third, while Devil Valentine faded to fourth.

Wedlock and Thatsthebottomline were scratched.

The final time was 1:51.54.

Win City ($2.70) earned $67,788 in his fifth stakes score of the year for owner Frank DiGiulio Jr.

There was no place or show wagering.