10/01/2003 11:00PM

Ashwood C C no stranger in Best of Ohio


GROVE CITY, Ohio - Ohio's best statebreds will square off Saturday when Beulah Park hosts the 17th annual Best of Ohio Championships.

The championships consist of five stakes in various divisions, with a total of $330,000 in purses up for grabs. The Best of Ohio has rotated annually between Thistledown and Beulah Park since 1999.

Ashwood C C may be the most accomplished horse on the Best of Ohio card. A 5-year-old daughter of Cryptoclearance, Ashwood C C is the two-time defending champion in the $60,000 Distaff Championship.

Trainer Rod Madrigal Sr. has kept Ashwood C C in strong form this season. She has won four of her eight 2003 starts and placed in three others, with her lone off-the-board finish coming in her only career start on turf.

Ashwood C C has won 15 races in her career for her owner-breeders, Ashwood Thoroughbreds Inc. She does her best running on or near the front end, and jockey Luis Gonzalaz figures to have her running early in the 1 1/8-mile Distaff. The race drew a field of 11, including two entries.

Golden Tour and Oh So Easy, both multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old fillies, look like the main threats to Ashwood C C.

* Devil Time heads a field of 12 in the afternoon's richest event, the $100,000 Endurance for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles.

Devil Time has won 4 of 9 starts in 2003 for trainer David Carroll, and the four wins have come in Devil Time's only four starts in Ohio this year. Devil Time, a 6-year-old gelded son of Devil His Due, has scored two stakes wins at Thistledown and one each here and at River Downs. Bill Troilo has a return call aboard Devil Time, who does his best running from off the pace.

Hackendiffy is a gate-to-wire threat in the Endurance if trainer Bernie Flint elects to start his charge here Saturday. Flint cross-entered Hackendiffy, a 3-year-old son of Willowy, in the Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park.

Hackendiffy gained national attention with his game second-place finish in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby at Thistledown in June. He has five career wins, including four stakes, from 12 starts.

* The first Best of Ohio event will be the $60,000 Juvenile Fillies, which drew a field of 10, including an entry.

Spring Cat enters the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies off three straight wins. Most recently, she was an easy gate-to-wire winner in the six-furlong Emerald Necklace at Thistledown on Sept. 13. In her previous start, the Joe Martin trainee rallied to score a nose victory against males in the Loyalty at Thistledown. Spring Cat will be trying two turns for the first time and will be ridden by her regular rider, Huber Villa-Gomez.

Barnsy is the main danger in the Juvenile Fillies. She won her maiden in her debut at Churchill Downs before finishing off the board against stakes company on June 5 at Belmont in her most recent start. Julio Felix rides for trainer and co-owner Tim Hamm.

* Floater, undefeated in three career starts, leads a full field of 14, including two entries, in the $60,000 Juvenile Championship.

Tim Girten trains Floater, who stalked the pace to the stretch en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $75,000 Juvenile Stakes at Thistledown last out. Mike Rowland has a return riding call.

* Ben's Reflection, a 3-year-old, figures to go favored against 11 rivals in the $50,000 Sprint Championship at six furlongs.

Ben's Reflection has won five of his seven career starts, with his two losses coming in two-turn events and all five of his victories at six furlongs. He won those five races by a combined 48 lengths and never trailed a horse at any call in those starts.

Mike Nance trains Ben's Reflection for owner M.Y. Stables Inc. Perry Ouzts, who is 4 for 4 aboard Ben's Reflection, has the mount in the Sprint.