05/01/2006 11:00PM

Gold Khalifa stretches to preferred distance


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Four of the six runners in Thursday's Woodbine feature are making their second start off a winter layoff, and they figure to dominate the race, a second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares. The race carries a purse of $73,500 and an optional claiming price of $62,000.

Gold Khalifa, victorious in 3 of her last 5 starts, is the most likely winner. She closed along a golden rail to post a 1 3/4-length win in a first-level allowance two starts back in December, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.20 and receiving a lifetime-best Beyer Speed Figure of 75.

Gold Khalifa recorded a series of rapid workouts heading into her season opener April 16, in a seven-furlong optional claimer. She finished third running against a speed bias, 11 1/2 lengths behind a razor-sharp Stonington, who won by 9 1/2 lengths.

Owner and trainer Carlo Fuoco said he believes the best is yet to come from Gold Khalifa, a daughter of the Grade 1 winner Formal Gold and stakes winner Khalifa of Kushog.

"She had only had one five-eighths work before that race and wasn't all that fit," Fuoco said. "I think she prefers to go a mile and a sixteenth. She's not 100 percent fit yet, but I expect her to run well. She's in good order."

Gold Khalifa worked five-eighths in a leisurely 1:04 over the training track April 27 under jockey David Clark, who has the mount Thursday. Clark was aboard for each of her three wins in 2005.

Ca Ching the Green rallied to finish fourth, a head behind Gold Khalifa, in the April 16 allowance, after lagging far behind the rest of the field on the backstretch. Ca Ching the Green won 3 of 10 starts last year for trainer Dave Cotey, who sold her over the winter to owner James Dalton and trainer Janet Bedford. Jim McAleney retains the mount.

Six Jiggles was never in contention before ending up seventh behind Gold Khalifa and Ca Ching the Green on April 16. She ran her best races last year on the grass, but is 0 for 10 over the grass. Two of her three scores were at 1 1/16 miles, including her most recent win, in a first-level allowance in June 2004.

Good as Gold, the other entrant making her second start off the sidelines, displayed poor form in the fall and was winless in 12 starts last year. She trounced a weak allowance field going six furlongs in the mud April 14, earning a 55 Beyer.

Good as Gold competes with a $60,000 claiming tag.