10/06/2006 12:00AM

'Awesome' spot to regain form


EDMONTON, Alberta - A well-matched group of eight 3-year-old fillies are in the spotlight here Sunday at Northlands Park, with each seeking to score her first allowance victory of the season in the one-mile feature.

Leading the way by virtue of her marginal drop in class is Awesome Deal, trained by Ernie Keller.

After she capped her juvenile campaign with a smart victory in the $50,000 Freedom of the City Stakes, the prognosis for Awesome Deal's 3-year-old season seemed bright.

Awesome Deal, a Florida-bred, started 2006 creditably enough with a second-place finish in Stampede Park's Mount Royal, followed by a third-place effort in the Lilac. But Awesome Deal's performances began to deteriorate from there, as she placed fourth in the Penny Ridge and fifth in the Northlands Park Oaks.

In her latest race, she closed to be third against nonwinners of two this season, and she showed she might have enough left in the tank to crack the goose egg in her win column. Stephen Heiler, who piloted Awesome Deal in the Freedom of the City, was aboard for the first time this season in her last start, and he rides again Sunday.

After a couple of outings in which she got caught in the wake of the talented She's Italian, Southview Sara also looks ready to take a good stab at the winner's circle Sunday afternoon. Southview Sara was recently fourth in the Alberta Oaks, 13 1/2 lengths behind She's Italian.