06/29/2004 11:00PM

Beyer advantage to Turtle Drive


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Florida shipper Turtle Drive appears to have found a cozy spot in Friday's Woodbine feature, a nonwinners-of-two allowance for Ontario-sired fillies and mares.

Turtle Drive was a troubled second for trainer Steve Owens when she debuted here last September. She got the winter off after finishing fifth in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special for Ontario-sired runners in October.

Turtle Drive resurfaced with trainer Bill White at Calder, where she led throughout a one-mile maiden special weight race May 18. She earned a Beyer Figure of 74, easily the highest in Friday's talent-starved field.

Turtle Drive, now back in the Owens's barn, has worked regularly here since she won her maiden. Owners Eugene and Laura Melnyk and Owens teamed up for a win with Shop Hill last Sunday.

Patrick Husbands, who rode Turtle Drive in both of her 2-year-old races, has the mount.

Among the other seven entrants in the 1 1/16-mile race are probable pacemaker Reputed Deeds, Bay Sweetie Babe, Step Aside Please, and Bellini Martini.

Reputed Deeds, trained by Dave Cotey, is donning blinkers following a runner-up placing against maiden special company in her most recent start. She was subsequently awarded first purse money, because the owners of the winner weren't licensed.

Reputed Deeds struggled while running on a dead rail in her only other outing, which came in the slop April 17. She finished 10th after bouncing off the rail early in the stretch. She is trying a route of ground for the first time, and her dam won 4 of 13 route starts.

Bay Sweetie Babe, trained by Danny O'Callaghan, won at seven furlongs in her second start at 2, but was a distant seventh in her only outing this year. Like Turtle Drive, she is a daughter of Queen's Plate winner Archers Bay, and might find her niche around two turns.

Step Aside Please rallied wide to end up fourth in a seven-furlong allowance taken off the grass two weeks ago. She won her maiden going 1 1/16 miles at 2, and could be closing prominently in her third start off a long layoff. Leading rider Todd Kabel has the mount for trainer Brian Morgan.

Bellini Martini showed some ability at 2, but ran poorly in her two appearances this year. She is trying blinkers for the first time, an angle that trainer Reade Baker has excelled with since the beginning of 2003.