06/02/2006 12:00AM

Ericka's Lass must do better than last


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Ericka's Lass, one of two stakes winners in the field, will have to be at her best if she hopes to repeat in the $40,000 La Verendrye here at Assiniboia Downs on Sunday. The six-furlong La Verendrye has drawn a field of eight fillies and mares.

Trained by Emile Corbel, Ericka's Lass has shown the same form early this year that she did in 2005, finishing second in her seasonal bow and then winning an allowance prep for the La Verendrye in her next start. A 5-year-old daughter of Limit Out, Ericka's Lass has won all three of her starts at six furlongs but may be vulnerable as she earned a moderate Beyer Speed Figure of 57 in her most recent outing.

Among Ericka's Lass's main opponents is Dark Nova, who has won 4 of her 5 career starts. Trained by Darrell Hartley, Dark Nova won 2 of 3 starts here last year and has won twice this year at Stampede Park. Her lone defeat came when facing first-level allowance company here in her second career start.

Smooth Rocket has won both her starts locally for trainer Lorna Gray, taking a first-level allowance on May 7 and then winning a second-level allowance on May 28.

Vicar's Daughter finished second, 3 1/2 lengths behind Smooth Rocket on May 7 before winning a first-level allowance by four lengths on May 22.

Siberian Falstaff finished second, three-quarters of a length back of Ericka's Lass in the allowance prep for the La Verendrye. That race was Siberian Falstaff's first start here and second since her fourth-place finish in the 2005 La Verendrye.

Hold on Heather made her first start of the year in the La Verendrye allowance prep, pressing the pace outside of Siberian Falstaff before tiring to finish third, beaten 6 3/4 lengths.

Remiewaterbluz, the other stakes winner in the lineup, makes her first start of the year. She was a late scratch from the allowance prep for the La Verendrye after flipping in the gate.

The field rounds out with Early Approval, who finished second when facing conditioned claiming males in her only local start, on May 13.

* Hey Hey Renee, winner of the Winnipeg Futurity last year, heads a list of a dozen 3-year-old fillies nominated to the $40,000 Chantilly Stakes at six furlongs on June 11.