08/24/2004 11:00PM

Alpha Saphire back from layoff


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stakes winner Alpha Saphire returns from a layoff in Friday's ninth race at Woodbine, an $80,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares.

Owned by Stronach Stable, Alpha Saphire captured the $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes last year, when she was trained by Malcolm Pierce. She also placed in the 2003 Flaming Page Stakes, then was shelved for the year after running fourth as the favorite in the Carotene Stakes on Oct. 13.

Alpha Saphire was subsequently turned over to trainer Danny Vella and has made just one start this year, at Gulfstream in February. She set a slow pace in a nine-furlong allowance before fading to finish sixth.

Alpha Saphire was entered in a $100,000 optional claimer here Aug. 13, but was scratched when the race was taken off the grass. She has worked extensively, and Vella has been winning with a high percentage of his extended layoff runners.

Jim McAleney has the mount on Alpha Saphire, a daughter of Alphabet Soup.

Rosharon could be favored in this nine-furlong turf race off her third-place finish behind Inish Glora and Heyahohowdy in the restricted Victoriana Stakes.

Rosharon won her three previous races, including two allowance events, and has reached full bloom this year at age 5.

Leading rider Todd Kabel, who won twice aboard Rosharon in June, will get a leg up from trainer Steve Attard.

French import Sauvage was fifth going a mile in the allowance prep for the Ontario Colleen Stakes Aug. 14, her debut on this side of the pond.

Sauvage won a listed race going about 1 1/4 miles in May, after which she was purchased by Bill Diamant. Phil Gracey trains Sauvage, who should improve with the stretch-out in distance off her last.

Pelican Island, by Mr. Prospector, is coming off a freshening in her first start for trainer David Bell. A $2.1 million yearling purchase by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, Pelican Island won her maiden over a sloppy track last fall at Calder.

Pelican Island beat a good field in her only start this year, a June 28 turf allowance at Calder. The second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers all came back to score in entry-level allowance company.

Danish Fairytale has landed her last two main-track races, with a dull turf performance in between. In fact, she is winless in five grass starts.

My Real Quiet Lady, who was entered for the main track only, has won her two most recent outings, both on the dirt.