08/05/2001 12:00AM

Woodbine: Confessional again


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Favored American invader Confessional won the Grade 3 Royal North Handicap on Saturday at Woodbine for the second year in a row.

Confessional stalked a three-way pace battle under Ramon Dominguez in the six-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares. Longshots Dreams Go Bye, Sports Flashy, and Bahama Dream vied through splits of 22.11 seconds and 44.86, with Dreams Go Bye emerging with the lead inside the quarter pole.

Confessional found room in midstretch and hit the front at the eighth pole, while Heliotrope was mired in traffic. Heliotrope was steered to the rail once she got clear in the final sixteenth, but her late surge came up a half-length short.

Ahead by a Century rallied from last in the nine-horse field to finish another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. Automated and Yes We Do were scratched. The final time was 1:09.10.

"She was very relaxed," said Dominguez of Confessional. "She was just waiting for me to give her a signal to go on. When it opened up in the stretch, she split horses easily. She was very game."

Confessional ($3.60) banked $85,575 of the $143,825 purse for Pin Oak Stable. A 5-year-old by Holy Bull, she is unbeaten in three starts this year for Delaware-based trainer Graham Motion.