11/28/2003 1:00AM

Winter Whiskey: 'King' me!


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - There will be a nip in the air here Sunday, and possibly a touch of snow, but trainer Catherine Day Phillips will be hoping to warm her spirits with Winter Whiskey.

Owned by Day Phillips in partnership with a syndicate named Ten Goal Racing Stable, Winter Whiskey will face eight rivals in the $135,250 Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

Winter Whiskey, the only stakes winner in the race, was an upset winner versus open company in the Swynford at seven furlongs at Woodbine on Sept. 21.

And while his two subsequent outings could be termed disappointing, Winter Whiskey figures to take some beating in strictly Ontario-sired company.

"He's in good order," said Day Phillips. "We'll try to get him back on track, where he should be."

Winter Whiskey won at first asking and then finished third in the seven-furlong Simcoe prior to the Swynford.

Winter Whiskey went off the rails in his first start after the Swynford, finishing a well-beaten 10th when trying turf for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Cup and Saucer.

Winter Whiskey then bypassed an earlier target, the 1 1/8-mile Coronation Futurity, which the stable ended up winning with A Bit o'Gold.

Winter Whiskey, with an eye toward the Kingarvie, returned in the 6 1/2-furlong Sunny's Halo here Nov. 16, finishing third as the odds-on choice. He will be trying two turns for the first time Sunday.

"He trains like he likes to two turns," said Day Phillips. "I don't think he likes being rushed; we rushed him a little bit in the Sunny's Halo.

Winter Whiskey, favorably slotted in post 2, will be the 119-pound highweight and probable favorite.

Among the key opponents are Spider Canyon, who will be ridden by Todd Kabel, and Rodeo Fun, with David Clark up.

Spider Canyon will be racing on the main track for only the second time, having finished fifth in his debut at 5 1/2 furlongs on June 28. In four subsequent starts on turf, the colt won his maiden at seven furlongs and is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Cup and Saucer.

Trainer Barbara Minshall has been pointing Spider Canyon for this race, and his last two drills on dirt were solid.

Rodeo Fun has run well in his last three outs, all at six furlongs, and will attract betting support in his first try at a middle distance, and first with Lasix.