06/25/2008 11:00PM

Art Moderne back in one of two turf stakes


MIAMI - Turf aficionados will get their money's worth, weather permitting, Saturday at Calder. Four races are scheduled for the grass, including both the $36,000 Heckofaralph and Liberada stakes.

The Heckofaralph will see the return of Art Moderne, who has not started since beating a good field in Kentucky Downs's Franklin Stakes in September. In fact, the Heckofaralph will be only the second time Art Moderne has raced anywhere since July 2006, when he was on the West Coast with trainer Bobby Frankel.

Marty Wolfson took over the training of Art Moderne in 2007 and had him fit and ready off a 14-month layoff to withstand a gut-wrenching stretch battle to narrowly defeat Salinja and Terrific Storm in the one-mile Franklin. Now Wolfson looks to bring the old veteran back off yet another vacation, this time going only five furlongs in the Heckofaralph. Art Moderne shows only two published works in preparation for his return, both of which came within the last nine days over the main track.

Should Art Moderne not be up to his best effort, the Heckofaralph looms wide open, with Winnies Tigger Too and Aly's Wheat perhaps the top candidates if the race goes as scheduled on the turf. Fortunate Trail would be the beneficiary should conditions merit a switch to the main track.

Winnies Tigger Too has been freshened since finishing third against a strong group of upper-level optional claiming and allowance types going five furlongs over the Gulfstream turf on Feb. 3. Winnies Tigger Too was beaten less than three lengths by stakes winner Around the Cape while finishing in front of next-out allowance winners Saint Damon and Emirates to Dubai in the key race

Aly's Wheat appears better suited to racing around two turns than to sprinting but did win the Blazing Sword Stakes over the main track earlier in the meet and owns more victories on grass than any other member of the field other than Art Moderne.

Liberada: Awesome Alexandra steps up

Wolfson, who won four stakes on the afternoon of June 14, could have another big day if his red-hot Awesome Alexandra can handle the jump to stakes company in the 1 1/16-mile Liberada.

A former $10,000 claimer, Awesome Alexandra has won her last three starts by an average margin of five lengths, although those victories came against modest starter allowance opposition. To continue her winning ways, she will have to beat a field that includes Private Betty, Pretoria Light, and the suddenly improved Saint Knows.

Private Betty returns to her favorite surface after finishing a well-beaten fourth on dirt in the Sara's Success Stakes. In her previous start, the late-striding mare chased the pace before finishing fifth trying to stay 1 3/8 miles against graded stakes winners Mauralakana and J'ray in the Mairzy Doates Handicap here April 25.

Pretoria Light has held her own against some top-notch competition since winning the Sunny Issues Stakes in her grass debut in December. She was second, beaten just a neck by Rutherienne, to close her 3-year-old campaign in the Grade 3 Frances Genter Stakes and also was a good fourth behind Grade 1 winners Dreaming of Anna and Lear's Princess earlier this winter in Tampa Bay Downs's Endeavour Stakes.