09/06/2005 11:00PM

Little Bentley experiments on grass


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Little Bentley will test his ability on the grass for the first time Friday at Woodbine in the fourth race, a one-mile allowance for Ontario-sired runners who have not won three races.

Little Bentley, trained by David Bell for Melnyk Racing Stable, went on the sidelines after running third behind A Bit O'Gold and Niigon in the 2004 Plate Trial Stakes. He reappeared

June 10, finishing third in an allowance sprint, and then won 1 1/16-mile allowance for nonwinners of two on June 30.

Two starts ago in an open entry-level allowance, Little Bentley was a close second to the promising Ever So Free, who came back to be second to Barbeau Ruckus in the Elgin Stakes. Most recently, in another allowance route, Little Bentley modified his speed style and came from five lengths back, making a midstretch bid for the lead before fading to third.

Little Bentley worked a slow half-mile in 51.40 seconds over the turf training course Sept. 4. His sire, Archers Bay, has scored with just 1 of 39 runners making their first grass start, but Archers Bay's offspring have won a respectable 12 of 117 starts overall on turf.

Little Bentley is out of the Miswaki mare Little Bay, who won her turf debut. None of her offspring has tried turf.

Todd Kabel has the mount,. He is 7 for 29 at the meeting when riding for Bell.

Bobby E. Lee, Jolie Ben Fabie, and Bold Kris are other contenders in Friday's feature.

Bobby E. Lee has blossomed this year at age 5, hitting the board in five of his six outings. He won a maiden special race over the turf at Fort Erie on June 27 before ending up second in an Ontario-sired allowance on the main track here July 27. He ran evenly when fourth in a subsequent seven-furlong allowance, and then captured a nonwinners-of-two allowance going long with authority.

Trainer Peter Berringer said Bobby E. Lee has evolved into a versatile runner. "I always thought he was better on the grass, but I think he can do anything right now," said Berringer.

Jolie Ben Fabie ran with mixed results on the turf prior to his Aug. 14 victory in a restricted allowance on the main track. Three runners exited that seven-furlong race and won, including Divine Touch and Bobby E. Lee.

Bold Kris comes off a series of decent performances on the grass at Fort Erie, but has not won since capturing an allowance here Oct. 2.