03/30/2010 11:00PM

First Passage will need to do better


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Will the real First Passage stand up?

That's the question handicappers will have to answer when Grade 3 winner First Passage returns off her disappointing 2010 debut in Friday's $57,000 Harmony Lodge Handicap, a 6o1/2-furlong overnight stakes for fillies and mares.

First Passage is one of three horses trainer Marty Wolfson has among the seven entered for the Harmony Lodge. She will carry high weight of 122 pounds if she starts, one more than D'wild Ride.

"I'll see which ones are doing best by Friday and run two of the three," said Wolfson.

Wolfson said First Passage and stakes winner Indy's Alexandra were the more likely of the three to start, with Exe, a recent $62,500 claim, expected to await another day.

First Passage finished seventh, 23 lengths behind the winner Warbling when she returned from a seven-month vacation in the Grade 2 Inside Information on March 14. Her chances were compromised that afternoon by an unlucky start.

"I know she got beat a long ways, but she really needed the race and Johnny took care of her once he realized she was getting tired," said Wolfson, referring to jockey John Velazquez.

First Passage rose to prominence in her division last summer at Calder, winning three stakes in succession, including the Grade 3 Azalea. That performance punched her ticket into the Grade 1 Test, a race she could have won but for even worse luck at the gate.

First Passage ultimately finished fourth in the Test, beaten less than two lengths by Flashing, despite breaking poorly and losing considerable ground while rallying into the stretch. Wolfson sent her to the sidelines for the remainder of her 3-year-old campaign upon her return from Saratoga.

Indy's Alexandra began her career with three successive victories that included Calder's Three Ring in her 2-year-old finale. She has not won in six subsequent starts, her career interrupted for over a year before she returned to finish a tiring fourth in a high-priced optional claiming race here March 11.

D'wild Ride has won 5 of her last 6 starts dating back to Monmouth Park's Regret on Aug. 2. Her lone setback during that period came over a sloppy track in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl here earlier in the meet. D'wild Ride bounced back from that loss with an easy four-length allowance win on Feb. 28. She will carry 121 pounds in the Harmony Lodge.