09/08/2003 12:00AM

Aftica threat from the start


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Aftica will try to make all the running in Wednesday's Woodbine headliner, a six-furlong allowance race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Aftica, a 3-year-old trained by Beverly Chubb, finished fourth after stalking the pace on a sloppy strip in an Ontario-sired maiden sprint in her debut June 5. She fared better over a fast track against $40,000 maiden claiming company in her second start July 2, when she finished third after leading until the eighth pole.

Aftica shook loose on the lead two starts back, in another Ontario-sired maiden special weight race, and made all the running while defeating Victoria Princess and next-out winner Piersixer. Her six-furlong time of 1:12 earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 71.

Most recently, in her first grass attempt, Aftica battled on the lead until midstretch, and finished 3 1/2 lengths back of favored Tamara in fifth. She returns to the main track here.

Also entered in Wednesday's feature are Never Blue, Melting Point, Rosharon, Molinaro First Las, Intoyourblues, and Great Auntee.

Melting Point, winless this year, should stalk the pace under Constant Montpellier. A daughter of Bold Executive, she has hit the board in 5 of 7 starts at the meet, including a half-length loss at this level on April 18.

In three high-priced claiming races in July, Melting Point finished behind such veterans as Greattobeloved, La Petite Justice, and Power Gem. Trainer Dave Cotey has given her a six-week break heading into Wednesday's race, which he believes will be her easiest assignment of the year.

"I definitely think it's a class drop," Cotey said. "These Ontario-sired fillies are probably worth $40,000 or $50,000. Power Gem's a multiple winner, and Greattobeloved came back to win again. This is the easiest field she's faced all year."

Never Blue finished second as the favorite at this level in her last main-track race July 18. She finished 10th going one mile on grass last time, and is getting a rider switch to David Clark.

Grass specialist Rosharon has a poor main-track record. She narrowly lost a seven-furlong turf allowance race on July 9, and couldn't stay a mile on turf in her latest.