08/31/2007 11:00PM

Big maiden winners square off


Eight smashing maiden winners will jump directly into $100,000 New York-bred 2-year-old stakes races in the Lady Finger and Aspirant on Monday at Finger Lakes.

Seven will go in the Lady Finger for fillies, led by last-out open-length winners Canadian Ballet, Beam of Love, By the Light, and Devi.

Canadian Ballet won her debut at Saratoga on Aug. 8 by 1 1/2 lengths in a field of eight at 8-5. She fought one rival head-to-head for a half-mile in the five-furlong race, then overcame bumping and steadying in the stretch, showing some toughness. Finger Lakes's leading jockey, John Davila Jr., will ride.

Beam of Love's maiden score came at Saratoga on Aug. 22, by 6 3/4 lengths in a field of seven at 5-1. Her trainer, Gary Contessa, has run three horses at Finger Lakes this meet, finishing in the money with each.

By the Light hasn't run since winning her debut July 11 at Belmont by 6 1/4 lengths. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., who has a win and a place with four Finger Lakes starters this year, she has worked steadily since, including a quick five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Saratoga on Aug. 13. By the Light's Beyer Speed Figure of 77 easily tops the Lady Finger field,

16 points higher than Beam of Light's second-best Beyer of 61.

Devi won her maiden by 3 1/2 lengths on Aug. 18, but at Finger Lakes, not downstate, where the competition is tougher.

Law Enforcement's three-length debut score on July 20 at Belmont netted an 84 Beyer, tops among the 11 colts and geldings in the Aspirant. Alan Garcia will travel in from Saratoga to ride.

Saratoga-based Channing Hill also is making the trip, to ride Midnight Slammer, a three-length maiden

winner at Saratoga on Aug. 11, with a 70 Beyer.

Those two, plus Spanky Fashion, who won his debut by 3 1/4 lengths at Belmont in June and then ran second in the open-company, $60,000 Tyro at Monmouth Park in July, look like the ones to beat.

But Piquant Cat, a 5 1/4-length debut winner, and Dabadabado, a 1 3/4-length debut winner, cannot be dismissed.