08/30/2001 11:00PM

Entry erases all betting value

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sunday's $109,400 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine features an intriguing matchup between the unbeaten 3-year-old Meadow Gem and Kinghaven Farm's talented 4-year-old Torrid Affair.

But the seven-furlong dash for fillies and mares shapes up as a poor betting race, because Meadow Gem, Torrid Affair, and Ahead by a Century are coupled in what will be a short-priced entry. Kinghaven owns a small percentage of Meadow Gem, who is trained by Bob Tiller, who also trains of Ahead by a Century.

Roger Attfield sends out Torrid Affair, who has run hot and cold in her five starts this year. She won the La Voyageuse Handicap on opening day, and was beaten a neck in the Whimsical Stakes.

Torrid Affair was a dull fourth in both of her excursions to the United States, but her stunning performance here June 23 in the Sweet Briar Too Stakes was the best of her career. She won that race in a romp, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16, which earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Attfield wasn't able to pinpoint the reasons for Torrid Affair's subpar showings this year. "She's never run well out of town," Attfield noted. "I don't know why."

The speedy Meadow Gem has taken Woodbine by storm this year. She graduated by 4 1/2 lengths, earning a Beyer Figure of 92 on May 31, and proceeded to run through the first two allowance conditions with ease.

Most recently, over a speed-favoring track in the Grade 3 Duchess Stakes, Meadow Gem held off accomplished New York invader Gold Mover to prevail by daylight. Her seven-furlong clocking of 1:22.40 was good for a 101 Beyer.

Tiller, who owns nearly 30 percent of Meadow Gem, was particularly impressed by her Duchess effort.

"She was never six in front and just holding on in that race," Tiller pointed out. "She was a length or a length and a half in front all the way around. She was able to relax and carry her speed. Every start is a test for her. Last time, it was trying to stretch out to seven-eighths. She has to run against older mares this time."

Tiller has resisted the temptation to sell Meadow Gem, who was an $82,000 purchase from an Ocala 2-year-old sale.

"I've had several offers for her," he said, "but there's no need to sell her. There are a lot of people involved in the syndicate which owns her, and they're having fun."

o A field of seven 2-year-olds will line up in Sunday's supporting feature, the 6 1/2-furlong Silver Deputy Stakes.