09/16/2002 12:00AM

Civility Cat only entrant with turf form


ELMONT, N.Y. - Handicappers will have very little to go on Wednesday when trying to determine which of eight 2-year-old fillies to put their money on in an entry-level allowance race at a mile over Belmont Park's Widener Turf Course.

Of the eight entrants, only Civility Cat has run on turf, winning for a $40,000 claiming price in her debut on July 22 at Colonial Downs. In that race, Civility Cat overcame a slow start, and rallied past 12 rivals to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

"Basically, we don't know what she beat, but it was a full field and she came roaring down the middle of the track," trainer Ferris Allen said. "It was pretty impressive. I don't think there's much of a question if she likes the grass, but we have to figure out what kind of quality she is."

Allen, who saddled a $20 winner on turf closing day at Saratoga, had hoped to find out something about Civility Cat's turf prowess when he entered her in the Junior Champion Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 1. But that race was rained off the turf, and Civility Cat finished fifth in the slop, beaten seven lengths.

"She ran up into a tough spot down the backside and had a greenish sort of trip," Allen said. "It did appear from that race that the mile distance wouldn't be a problem for her."

Jorge Chavez will ride Civility Cat from post 7.

Paisley Park finished second in the Junior Champion, 2 1/4 lengths behind Final Round. A daughter of Notebook out of the Lyphard's Ridge mare Silent Ridge, Paisley Park has suspect turf breeding.

Sea of Fire, who finished seventh in the Junior Champion, is an intriguing longshot for trainer Joe Orseno. Sea of Fire is a daughter of Explosive Red, and her third dam, Cricket Club, produced Collect the Cash, who won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for Orseno in 2000.

Sea of Fire shows two modest works on turf at Saratoga, but does get Lasix for the first time. Dennis Carr rides from post 4.

Rose is a Leader is by Fit to Fight out of the turf stakes-winning mare Is Rosalind. She comes off a 15 1/4-length victory against three horses in a $75,000 maiden claimer on dirt. Edgar Prado has the call for trainer Tim Ritvo.

Heart Ofa Champion tries turf for the first time and gets Jerry Bailey. Her dam, Take Her to Heart, won the Grade 3 Hillsborough Handicap on turf.

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