11/16/2004 12:00AM

Financingavailable has proven a steal


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - It's safe to say that no one connected with Financingavailable has required the kind of service her name advertises.

Purchased for $5,000 at the open yearling sale here, Financingavail-able was unraced last year at 2. In her first six starts, for owner and trainer Mark Casse, she collected $97,451.

Financingavailable was then acquired privately by owner K.K. Sangara, who said the purchase price was $150,000.

That price tag has already proven to be a bargain. Financingavailable has banked $196,700 in four starts for Sangara and trainer Lorne Richards, her biggest payday coming last Sunday, when she became a stakes winner here in the Jammed Lovely.

Sangara credits Richards and his assistant, Danny Williams, with sussing out Financingavail-able.

"Danny had watched her gallop a few times and really liked the way she moved," said Richards. "Casse owned her himself, and there was the Ontario-sired angle. I figured if she won the two conditions, and then I ran her for $50,000, we'd be okay."

Financingavailable won against Ontario-sired non-winners of two and non-winners of three. Sandwiched around those allowance wins were a second-place finish in the La Prevoyante, a one-mile turf race that was her first start for her new connections, and the victory in the Jammed Lovely at seven furlongs on the main track.

"I think she's equally good, turf or dirt," said Richards. "The good ones are hard to stop. The bad ones, it doesn't seem to matter what you do. I'd like to run her again. She seems to be thriving on it."

Financingavailable, who earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 98 in the Jammed Lovely, is nominated to the Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares here Nov. 28. Another possible spot would be the $125,000 Classy 'n Smart, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired fillies and mares Dec. 1.

"She hasn't been two turns yet," said Richards, "but I wouldn't be afraid to try."

Although she is a stakes winner and has won four races, Financingavailable still is eligible for a two-other-than allowance.

High costs keep Richards at home

Richards came east from Vancouver in 2001 to set up shop here as a private trainer for Sangara, who also has horses at Hastings and in California.

Last year, the stable wintered at Palm Meadows, but that experiment will not be repeated.

"The expenses are pretty high," said Richards, who added that at season's end he expects to have seven or eight horses who will winter on the farm, northwest of Woodbine.

French Lieutenant set for River City

French Lieutenant, based here at Woodbine with trainer Catherine Day Phillips, arrived at Churchill Downs Monday night for Sunday's River City Handicap.

"He's training very strongly," said Day Phillips.

The River City, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and upward, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

French Lieutenant, a 4-year-old colt owned by Glenwood Farm, was here last year with trainer Josie Carroll and returned this summer to Day Phillips after starting the season with Kiaran McLaughlin in New York.

In his first start for Day Phillips, French Lieutenant won a third-level turf allowance at a mile. In two subsequent outings, both in Grade 2 turf handicaps, French Lieutenant finished sixth in the 1 3/8-mile Sky Classic and seventh in the six-furlong Nearctic, beaten just three lengths in each race.

"One race was too long, the other was too short," said Day Phillips. "Hopefully, this is just in between. The key is that he'll have to relax early on to be effective."

A Bit O'Gold vs. Norfolk Knight

Day Phillips also said A Bit O'Gold is "good to go" for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Woodbine Slots Cup Handicap, in which he will face a streaking older rival in Norfolk Knight.

The Woodbine Slots Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward, attracted just 13 nominees, five of whom raced last weekend.

A Bit O'Gold, a 3-year-old, and Norfolk Knight, a 5-year-old, were both assigned 120 pounds and will be the starting highweights.

That makes A Bit O'Gold the theoretical highweight by the scale of weights for age, under which he would receive three pounds from an older horse at the distance in November.

"I thought it was a bit of an aggressive weighting," said Day Phillips.

Mark One, who is next in the weights at 119 pounds, was on the fence for the Slots Cup as of Tuesday morning.

A 5-year-old owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Danny Vella, Mark One won the Grade 3 Eclipse Handicap over 1 1/16 miles here early this summer.