11/16/2001 12:00AM

Feathers risks streak in Bessarabian

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Late-running Feathers goes for her fourth consecutive victory Sunday in the Grade 3 $137,875 Bessarabian Handicap for fillies and mares at Woodbine.

Feathers, who won her first stakes in the 2000 Bessarabian, was absent from late April until early September because of a virus. She won a Fort Erie allowance in her first start back, and then won a classified allowance here.

Feathers struck again here three weeks ago in the Ontario Fashion Handicap. She closed on the inside from 4 1/2 lengths back in that six-furlong dash, and prevailed by a length, earning an 88 Beyer Figure.

Trainer Ralph Biamonte said Feathers has trained forwardly at Fort Erie since the Ontario Fashion.

"She came out of it very good," said Biamonte, "better than she did her other races, and she came out of those races good too."

Biamonte, who believes that Feathers is more comfortable competing in long sprints, said that the seven-furlong distance of the Bessarabian is right up her alley.

"I've always thought 6 1/2 or seven furlongs might be her best distance," he said, "but she's run well going three-quarters. I like to see a fast pace up front, but I'm confident that she doesn't absolutely need it to be a winner. I think she can [make her move] a little earlier if the pace is slow."

The rest of the Bessarabian field consists of Ahead by a Century, Elektraline, Poetically, Pete's Fancy, Sports Flashy, Bold Engagement, and Healing Knowledge.

Poetically, Canada's champion 2-year-old filly of 2000, finally bagged her first win this year in the Nov. 4 Jammed Lovely Stakes against her own age group. A daughter of Silver Deputy, Poetically breezed a quick half-mile since that seven-furlong dash, and looks to be in fine fettle for trainer Roger Attfield.

Healing Knowledge only had to hang up a 78 Beyer Figure to land the Algoma Stakes, a restricted 1 1/16-mile race. Two races on her dance card failed to fill after the Sept. 3 Algoma, but she made quite a splash when she finally ran again Oct. 31, winning a seven-furlong optional claimer and earning a 90 Beyer.

Trainer Vito Armata said Healing Knowledge turned a corner during the summer after failing several times at the second allowance level.

"She had a problem," Armata said. "We worked on it, and she came through for us. She's doing really well, so we figured that we'd take a shot in this stakes."