05/16/2005 12:00AM

Allowance route launches turf season


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Foofaraw, who spent the winter racing at Fair Grounds, and stakes-placed Faswiga appear to be the main contenders in Wednesday's Woodbine feature.

With no rain in the forecast, the 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance for fillies and mares should be the first turf race of the meeting. Last Sunday's prep for the Connaught Cup Stakes was supposed to launch Woodbine's turf season, but that allowance was moved to the main track.

Foofaraw won her maiden going seven furlongs on the turf here last fall before shipping to Fair Grounds with trainer Malcolm Pierce. She encountered traffic problems when third against allowance company in her first outing there.

Foofaraw went on to compete in three consecutive $50,000 optional claimers, all at a mile. She ran flat in the first one on turf, and then finished second in a race taken off the grass. In her last Fair Grounds appearance, on March 6, she wound up second to Polish Grove, who subsequently finished seventh in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland.

The 3-year-old Foofaraw has recorded a series of half-mile works since returning to Woodbine, including a 48-second drill over the main track on May 7 which was fastest of 54 moves at the distance. Jim McAleney has the mount.

Faswiga, a 4-year-old trained by Ian Howard, took six consecutive cracks at this condition last year, and then second to the talented Emerald Earrings in the Sept. 4 Ontario Colleen Handicap. Three weeks later, she was beaten a half-length by My Pal Lana in the 1 1/2-mile Flaming Page Stakes while receiving her second straight 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

Faswiga returns from a seven-month layoff under David Clark, who won Sunday's Hendrie Handicap aboard Nashinda.

Among the others entered in Wednesday's feature are My Wild Rhoda, Northern Sorceress, and Nessarose.

My Wild Rhoda, trained by Bev Chubb, won a $50,000 claimer over this course with an 82 Beyer in October. She was beaten in double digits in each of her three ensuing starts, including in a key allowance at Tampa in January.

Northern Sorceress is making her first start since August, when she won a one-mile maiden special by nearly five lengths for trainer Catherine Day Phillips.

Nessarose returns from a long layoff for trainer Josie Carroll. All five of her outings last year were at Northlands Park, where she placed in two stakes. A daughter of Deputy Commander, she has little turf breeding.

The pick seven carryover is $3,537.