10/16/2001 11:00PM

Heliotrope looks like a winner in feature

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Heliotrope, the reigning champion filly or mare on turf in Canada, lays over a compact field in Friday's Woodbine headliner, a $67,200 classified allowance on the grass.

Four other fillies and mares go in the seven-furlong race - Cozy Up Doc, Signme or Trademe, Ahead by a Century, and Inish Glora. Selene Stakes winner Dark Ending and Greatballsoffire were entered for the main track only.

Heliotrope began her current campaign with a pace-pressing score in the allowance prep for the Nassau Stakes. She tried to wire the field in the Grade 3 Nassau, but got bogged down running over soft ground and came up a half-length short of a charging Only to You.

Heliotrope cut back from a route to six furlongs when she faced a talented group of males June 24 in the Grade 2 Nearctic Handicap, and ran her eyeballs out to end up just 1 1/4 lengths back of Mr. Epperson in fourth. Left in her wake was favored Texas Glitter.

Heliotrope overcame traffic problems in the stretch to take the allowance prep for the six-furlong Royal North Handicap. She also had a troubled journey in the Aug. 4 Royal North, in which she was a fast-closing second to Confessional.

Heliotrope took another crack at males Aug. 25 in the Grade 3 Play the King Handicap. She stalked a slow pace in the seven-furlong dash, and finished just three-quarters of a length behind a sharp Mr. Epperson, who is a serious contender for the Sovereign Award as this year's champion sprinter.

Most recently in a one-mile allowance, Heliotrope came from just off the pace to establish a two-length lead at the eighth pole, but was overhauled in the final strides by Except for Wanda, who relished the footing, labeled good that day.

Trainer David Bell will give Neil Poznansky a leg up on 6-year-old Heliotrope, who is owned by Richard and Jo Ellen Shaw.

Cozy Up Doc is debuting off an $80,000 claim by owner John Atto and trainer Sandy McPherson. She set slow fractions en route to a daylight tally in that event, and beat $100,000 opposition in her only other win this year.

Todd Kabel was named on both Cozy Up Doc and Greatballsoffire, who is debuting off a $62,500 claim by MacPherson and Atto, sponsor of the Grade 1 Atto Mile.

Eight races were carded Friday, instead of the usual nine, to accommodate the Breeders' Crown, a championship day for harness racing, which will begin at 7:15 p.m. at Woodbine.