03/28/2007 11:00PM

Invading trio look dangerous


When Turfway Park held the Wintergreen Stakes on March 10, all 12 of the starters had either raced or trained over the Turfway strip in the months leading up to the race.

But Saturday's $50,000 Fairway Fun Stakes at Turfway has an infusion of new talent. Although horses with recent experience at Turfway make up the bulk of the 11-horse field, there are three invaders from the South who are contenders - Top Notch Lady, Legislady, and Stormy Amber.

Top Notch Lady, a 4-year-old daughter of Sultry Song trained by Mark Casse, should start as one of the favorites in the Fairway Fun, a 1o1/16-mile race for fillies and mares. Winner of the Florida Breeders' Distaff in Ocala, Fla., on Feb. 12, she is also a proven force over Turfway Park's synthetic Polytrack surface, having won the Grade 3 Bourbonette Stakes last year.

As good as she looked in the Bourbonette, it is the strength of her last race that will draw much of the public's support. With jockey Julien Leparoux riding her for the first time in Ocala, Top Notch Lady accelerated from her five opponents in the stretch, winning by seven lengths.

A winner of 5 of 13 starts and $372,227 for owners Charles Nuckols III and Graeme Lang, she seems poised for another strong performance under Leparoux.

Stormy Amber and Legislady also figure prominently in the Fairway Fun after wintering in Louisiana.

Stormy Amber won a pair of races in fast time this winter at Delta Downs for Tom Amoss, the leading trainer at the recently concluded Fair Grounds meet. Legislady comes off a close third-place finish behind the stakes winner My Three Sisters in a third-level allowance race on grass at Fair Grounds Feb. 8.

Unlike Stormy Amber and Legislady, who have never raced on Polytrack, Half Heaven and Ella Belle have both won stakes on the synthetic surface at Turfway this winter.

Half Heaven won the Wintergreen on March 10, while Ella Belle scored over Half Heaven in the Likely Exchange at Turfway Feb. 10.

Half Heaven has carved out a niche as a Polytrack horse, compiling a record of three wins and a second in four starts on it at Woodbine and Turfway. All four Polytrack starts have come in stakes company.

In winning the Wintergreen, she beat four Fairway Fun entrants - Ella Belle, No Reason, Wrapped Up in You, and Country Fair.