Canadian filly 'Brook' adds off-the-pace speed to today's opener at Pimlico


First Baltimore, then Del Mar.

That's the schedule for Canadian trainer David Bell, who livens up today's opener at Pimlico Race Course with the entry of John Franks' Brook of Knowledge in the Park Heights Handicap.

The chestnut filly is so overpowering that she looks like a colt. But she'll need that strength to overhaul the speedy frontrunners this afternoon in the $50,000 5-furlong grass dash.

Especially tough could be Peter Angelos' Cormorant's Flight, who looks like she finally might be rounding into winning form for her most recent trainer, Bill Donovan.

Clever Clever, who makes a habit of winning these turf sprints, will be heavily favored.

But Mark Dunn, Bell's assistant, said he thinks Brook of Knowledge will be a factor.

"She's changed her running style this year and likes to lay near the front," Dunn said. The horse has been effective in high-class Canadian claimers at a distance and Dunn says she'll be able to lay just off the pace today and then pack a wallop in the stretch.

Bell, who is best known for winning the Haskell Handicap a couple of years ago with Franks' Kissin Kris and then finishing third with the horse in the Breeders' Cup Classic, will return Brook of Knowledge immediately to his home base at Woodbine Race Course near Toronto.

But Bell soon will be venturing farther afield, taking his current stable star, Native Regent, to California for turf stakes at Del Mar. Canadian shippers have fared well this year at Pimlico. A couple of months ago, Canadian-based Bold n' Flashy won the five-furlong Roman Stakes on the May 20 post-Preakness card.

Post time for today's live card is 1 p.m. The current Pimlico meet runs through Aug. 25. Action then switches for 10 days to Timonium for the Maryland State Fair before returning for another abbreviated meet at Pimlico that runs through Oct. 2.

* Serena's Song, who will attempt to become the first filly to win Monmouth Park's $500,000 Haskell Invitational on Sunday, had her final workout for the race, breezing five furlongs in 1 minute, 3/5 seconds yesterday.

Under jockey Donna Barton, Serena's Song worked in fractions of 25 2/5, 36 3/5 and 48 3/5. Then She galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 in a move described as "nice and easy" by the clockers.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas' assistant Dallas Stewart said that Serena's Song, who has won 10 of 18 lifetime starts, now will do "maintenance work" the balance of the week for the Haskell.

Serena's Song is expected to face 6-7 male rivals in the Haskell. Included will be Pyramid Peak, winner of the Flamingo and Long Branch Stakes; Wild Syn, winner of the Blue Grass; Citadeed, winner of the Peter Pan; Kingdom City, winner of the Arlington Round Table and the Nick Zito-trained Suave Prospect and Mighty Magee, winner of Pimlico's Sir Barton.

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