06/20/2008 12:00AM

Fabulous Babe represents the home team


SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Fabulous Babe will try to defend her home turf when she faces eight invaders and a stablemate in the $50,000 Northbound Pride Stakes at Canterbury Park. The inner rail on the grass course is scheduled to be at the 20-foot setting, which will make the Northbound Pride an about-one-mile contest.

An impressive winner in her debut here last summer at 2, Fabulous Babe was prepped for her summer campaign at Oaklawn by owner Robert Ryan. After winning a first-level allowance at Arlington Park, Fabulous Babe shipped to Canterbury to try the turf. Heavy rain forced that allowance contest to a sloppy main track, but the Mac Robertson trainee was undeterred, besting Lady Slipper Stakes winner A. J. Bakes by 16 lengths going a mile. Jockey Derek Bell has a tricky assignment in the Northbound Pride as Fabulous Babe will break from post 10.

Several fillies who last raced at Arlington Park will make the 410-mile trek to Shakopee, Minn., for the Northbound Pride. Trainer Richie Scherer sends in Three Graces following her seventh-place finish in the American 1000 Guineas last month. In her first appearance in Chicago this season, Three Graces made all the pace to win her first start on the turf by 5 1/4 lengths at Hawthorne. Paul Nolan has the call.

Lightly raced Azura tries to earn her first black type in the Northbound Pride. After winning with authority in her career debut at Tampa, Azura prevailed as the favorite in a 12-horse allowance at Arlington last month while making her first start at a route and on the turf. Ry Eikleberry has the call on the Tom Proctor trainee.

South Beach Luv finished a close third behind Azura in their last meeting to be beaten less than a length, and has since returned to capture an allowance contest on the turf at Arlington. Jason Lumpkins picks up the ride on South Beach Luv for trainer Mike Stidham.

Trainer Kelly Von Hemel pulled an upset in this race in 2003 when he shipped an Iowa-bred named Perfect Moment to Shakopee to try turf for the first time. The Prairie Meadows-based trainer will try to repeat that feat this year with Missmekissme, a winner of three consecutive starts, including the the Bob Bryant Stakes over statebreds.