08/14/2008 11:00PM

Flashy Pink set for repeat bid

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Flashy Pink will try to win the $125,000 Rainbow Connection Stakes for the second straight year on Sunday at Fort Erie. The Rainbow Connection, a five-furlong turf sprint for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, has drawn a field of eight.

Although Flashy Pink disappointed her backers in her most recent race, she is much better when on her game. Last year, Flashy Pink racked up a Beyer Speed Figure of 86 winning this event gate to wire. This is her third start off the layoff, and she could be all set to fire another top effort with Eddie Robinson aboard for trainer Bill MacKinnon.

Shot Gun Ela was heavily backed in last year's Rainbow Connection and will probably take her fair share of the action again.

The 7-year-old Shot Gun Ela tracked Flashy Pink last year but could finish no better than third. With only two turf races to date, both decent outings, school is still out on Shot Gun Ela from a turf standpoint.

Emile Ramsammy has the call, and he is known for getting runners into the action right from the break.

The outside post goes to Only If Split, who has shown big speed in all of her races, including her last turf try, where she led the way into the stretch before backing off.

Only If Split's sire has only sent out two turf winners in 52 tries, so the statistics go against her chances. But Chad Beckon, the leading rider at the Fort, takes the call and will have Only If Split in the mix in this sprint.

Speed runners going short, whether bred for turf or not, often put in a good account of themselves on the grass, so this filly could surprise them all.

Birsay, who also has been racing at Woodbine, has a solid turf record with 6 in-the-money finishes in 8 tries, including 2 wins.

Local high-percentage rider Dave Garcia has the mount and will be looking for a come-from-behind score, as Birsay is the closer in the race and will have plenty of speed to track.

Many in here will be going for the early lead, and even at five furlongs the pace could be taxing enough to set it up for an off-the-pace runner.

Miss Juicey and Ninas Cat are both first-timers on the turf.

Miss Juicey is by the field's lowest-percentage turf sire with beginners (0 for 34), but she does have excellent speed. Dave Clark will be in the saddle, and trainer Bob Tiller might have a wild card up his sleeve with this young filly.

Ninas Cat is also by a sire looking for his first debut winner on the grass - he is 0 for 19 in that regard. Also a speedball, Ninas Cat should be on the early pace under Chris Griffith.

Paradise Cat and Miss Terra round out the Rainbow Connection field. Both are looking for their first turf wins.