07/10/2004 12:00AM

Woodbine: Velvet Snow in an upset


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Apprentice jockey Corey Fraser captured his first stakes victory when he guided the 10-1 Velvet Snow to a half-length victory in the $161,400 Ontario Damsel Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on turf at Woodbine.

As the longest shot on the board, Velvet Snow paid $23.90 and topped a $194.80 exactor payoff with Financingavailable.

Velvet Snow, who was making just her fourth career start and first in stakes company, broke a bit sluggishly from the gate and trailed a hot pace of 22.15 and 45.48 seconds set by heavily favored Nashinda and second choice Search the Church.

When the leaders started to tire, Financingavailable grabbed a short lead in midstretch while Fraser and Velvet Snow snuck up the inside into third. Fraser had to alter course with the filly three-sixteenths from home and then pushed her to the lead just outside the wire.

"I just sat on her as long as I could," said Fraser, 27. "She crept up on her own. I went to go through a hole, it closed, so I had to go around. I thought I was going to get third.

"I was ecstatic to win it," he said. "I almost fell off my horse I was so happy."

Velvet Snow is trained by Bob Tiller and owned by Frank DiGiulio Jr., who also bred the 3-year-old Canadian-bred daughter of Subordination.