11/20/2003 12:00AM

Foufa's Warrior tries to turn tables

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Foufa's Warrior is 0 for 2 running against Barclay Tagg-trained 3-year-olds on dirt in Maryland.

In mid-May, Foufa's Warrior finished 16 lengths behind Funny Cide in the Preakness. Four months later, Foufa's Warrior was upset by Conservation in the Humphrey S. Finney at Pimlico.

Back on dirt for Saturday's $75,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park, Foufa's Warrior will once again have to deal with a shipper from Tagg's New York-based barn.

Conservation and Foufa's Warrior are rematched in the 1 1/8-mile Northern Dancer, a race restricted to Maryland-bred 3-year-olds.

Foufa's Warrior, who has two wins and a second in three dirt starts at Laurel, appeared to find a home on grass when he won the Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup at Delaware Park in mid-July. He's 0 for 3 since then, however, including a 3 3/4-length loss in the slop as the 1-2 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Finney. He is reunited with jockey Ramon Dominguez, who rode him in the Kent and the Finney, where he finished third.

"The last time I rode him, I have to blame it on the sloppy surface," Dominguez said. "He didn't really care for it that day because he has proven to be a very capable horse on the dirt, especially against horses like he'll be facing in this race."

Foufa's Warrior is coupled with Boca Bound, but only one is likely to start.

Conservation followed his three-length win in the Finney by pairing up career-best Beyer Speed Figures of 96 in two stakes in New York. He will have to overcome post 9 and avoid getting carried wide in the short run to the first turn to beat Foufa's Warrior this time.

Dandy Squall and Irish Colony are viable alternatives to the two probable favorites.

Dandy Squall faced older optional claimers and carried 123 pounds in his two most recent starts. He gets in at 115 for the Northern Dancer, a significant weight break.

Irish Colony has four wins and a neck loss in his last five starts, against easier competition, but a pair of 91 Beyers indicates he can be competitive moving up in class.