12/07/2004 1:00AM

Look for Neblina, 'La Salle' late

Email

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The closers Neblina and La Salle Glory could both be prominent at the end of Thursday's Woodbine feature, a six-furlong sprint for $80,000 optional claimers.

Neblina, a versatile 4-year-old trained by Roger Attfield, won her only race of the meeting in a seven-furlong, second-level allowance on the grass Aug. 19. She subsequently got a freshening, and was fourth behind future stakes winner Miss Grindstone in a tough $80,000 event on the main track Oct. 11.

In another $80,000 sprint most recently, Neblina found herself pressing a slow pace before fading to third in the final furlong. She should be more effective coming from a stalking position here with regular rider Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard.

La Salle Glory, a 3-year-old owned and trained by Bev Buck, is 2 for 12 at the meet. She won a six-furlong allowance in July with a lifetime-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure, but could only manage to finish sixth behind Neblina in her next-to-last start.

La Salle Glory mounted an eye-catching wide rally from midpack over a muddy track three weeks ago to defeat a fine field of $62,500 opponents in her first try under Jono Jones, who retains the mount Thursday.

The speedsters Whistling Maid and Expected Song could clash on the front end.

Whistling Maid finished a distant fourth last out in a $100,000 optional claimer, which was won by stakes winner Sweet Problem. She was previously sixth in the Ontario Fashion Handicap, but ran some solid races earlier this year.

Whistling Maid was second to Heyahohowdy going six furlongs on the grass in the June 20 Zadracarta Stakes. She received a Beyer in the high 80's when second in two other turf outings during the summer.

Jockey Steven Bahen, who began the week needing four wins to reach 1,000 for his career, will ride Whistling Maid for trainer Glenn Magnusson.

Expected Song won three of her first six starts at the meeting, including an $80,000 optional claimer, for which she got a 90 Beyer. She was claimed from a subpar performance for $75,000 on Oct. 11, and finished far up the track behind Whistling Maid most recently.

Trainer Bobby Lane will experiment here with blinkers on Expected Song.

Regal n' Bold arguably ran the best race of any of these this year when she finished second to Brass in Pocket in the June 30 Ballade Stakes. She has slumped in her last few outings, however, and is getting some class relief.