11/16/2003 12:00AM

Winter Garden bests her elders, again


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Crack three-year-old Winter Garden defeated older fillies and mares for the third straight time Sunday at Woodbine in the Grade 3 , a seven-furlong dash worth $164,400.

Winter Garden vied up front with several runners on the backstretch, and secured a slim lead on the turn after fractions of :22.78 and :45.91. She began to edge away from Mille Feville inside the eighth pole, and coasted home on top by a length under a confident ride from David Clark. El Prado Essence closed to grab second over Mille Feville in the seven-horse field. The final time was 1:24.14.

"She's such a competitive filly," said David Clark. "I had a lot of horse under me, and never really had much worry."

Winter Garden, who returned $4.20 as the favorite, earned $98,640 for owner Frank DiGiulio Jr. and trainer Bob Tiller.

* Night Sky ($4.90) led all the way to take his stakes debut in Sunday's supporting feature, the $106,000 Sunny's Halo. Todd Kabel rode Night Sky, who ran six and a half furlongs in 1:17.98, while scoring by four and a half lengths over Cat Striker. Favored Winter Whiskey finished third in the five-horse field, from which morning line favorite Twisted Wit was scratched.