Updated on 09/16/2011 8:58AM

Cavalier Billie faces Lush Soldier on turf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Lush Solider and Cavalier Billie, both turf stakes winners, head a solid 10-horse field of 3-year-old fillies in Friday's allowance prep for the Aug. 25 Ontario Colleen Handicap at Woodbine.

Lush Soldier highlighted her 2-year-old campaign last year by winning a division of the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes in September. She subsequently ran second in the Green River Stakes at Keeneland, then capped her season with a fourth-place finish in the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at Calder.

Lush Soldier wasn't a factor in her first two outings this year, both at Gulfstream, but went on to record back-to-back seconds after that, including a strong showing in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland. She cut back from a mile to 6 1/2 furlongs and won the Alywow Stakes at Woodbine June 1, then won a seven-furlong optional claimer over soft ground.

Lush Soldier has worked extensively for her return from a seven-week hiatus on Friday, with Mickey Walls riding for trainer David Bell.

Cavalier Billie couldn't win a maiden race on the main track in the spring, but found a new lease on life after switching to the grass in her penultimate start, winning a maiden special weight race with ease.

Cavalier Billie sprung a 17-1 upset in the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Damsel Stakes on June 30, mowing down odds-on favorite Fleet of Foot inside the eighth pole before drawing off.

Trainer Phil Gracey will give Robert Landry a leg up on Cavalier Billie, who has yet to race beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.

Completing the field for Friday's one-mile headliner are Strait from Texas, Lady Shari, Amy's Falcon, Cabri, Miss Noire, Jealous Forum, Seventh Choice, and Prospectors Band.

Lady Shari won the Grade 1 Mazarine Breeders' Cup Stakes on the main track last September, beating Jealous Forum.

Lady Shari, who finished far back the only time she tried the turf, has been an underachiever this year. She recently underwent minor throat surgery, and clearly might improve.

Jealous Forum is unplaced in two turf starts, but has won her two most recent engagements, including the Wilderness Song Stakes.

Strait From Texas, second to Lush Soldier in the Natalma, struggled during the first half of her current campaign, but is coming off a third-place finish in a $62,500 optional claimer.

Cabri won a recent preliminary allowance while beating a troubled Ariel's Melody, who won the Victoriana Stakes on Monday.

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