08/04/2007 12:00AM

Champ mare out to make amends


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Financingavailable will try to make amends for her narrow loss in the 2006 Royal North Stakes in Monday's renewal of that six-furlong turf dash at Woodbine.

The $150,000 Grade 3 race for fillies and mares has also drawn Count to Three and Becky Sharp, who both ran in the Royal North last year.

Financingavailable was crowned champion older female in Canada last year, for winning five stakes in eight starts. She was second in her other three starts, including in the Royal North, when she surrendered a clear lead to Hide and Chic in deep stretch after veering out.

"She pushed a pretty quick pace," trainer Lorne Richards recalled. "A piece of newspaper flew between her legs around the sixteenth pole, just when [jockey Jim McAleney] gave her his first little hit with his stick, and she shied away from it. Not keeping a straight course may have cost her, and it opened up a wider path for Hide and Chic."

After coming off an injury, Financingavailable had a dicey beginning in 2006, but things have gone more smoothly for her this year. She won her season opener with a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Ballade Stakes, a race in which she ran second last year, and in her only other start this year was an easy winner of an allowance prep for the Royal North.

"I was a lot happier with her early on," said Richards. "I was able to do what I wanted with her. Last year, it was hit and miss. She hurt herself the year before - had a bit of a fracture in one hind leg and wasn't quite up to snuff in her first race.

"She's a lot easier on herself than she used to be," Richard said. "She's settled down a lot and has rated in her races. She never got hit in either race this year, which is a big thing, because I don't think she likes that too much. She gives her all."

Count to Three lost by three-quarters of a length when fourth in the 2006 Royal North. She has been a disappointment this year, finishing sixth in the Zadracarta Stakes and third in the Royal North prep.

"It took her a couple of starts to get fit," said trainer Mark Frostad.

Becky Sharp ran fast fractions before fading in the 2006 Royal North. She edged Count to Three for second in the July 15 prep.

Recent allowance winner Vestrey Lady and Hide and Chic's half-sister Saoirse Cat are also in the seven-horse field.