04/22/2004 11:00PM

Nashinda still full of promise

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Nashinda, perhaps the most talented 2-year-old filly at Woodbine in 2003, will make her much-anticipated return from an extended layoff in Sunday's $133,875 Star Shoot Stakes.

A full sister to 1998 Queen's Plate winner Archers Bay, Nashinda was no secret when she made her debut last May in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special. She justified her favoritism with an easy score in 51.80 seconds, which earned her a Beyer Figure of 87.

Nashinda posted another impressive front-running performance a month later, in the five-furlong My Dear Stakes, which she won by five lengths. Her final time got her an 84 Beyer.

Trainer Mac Benson decided to put Nashinda away for the year after the My Dear when it was discovered that she had ankle chips.

"I backed off on her on account of a [sore] shin," Benson said. "And her ankles filled up when I started her up again. I took pictures, and chips showed up in both ankles. We sent her to Kentucky and had her operated on. There wasn't any sense trying to bring her back for the fall. We decided to wait and hopefully have a real nice 3-year-old."

Nashinda, who spent the winter at Payson Park in Florida, is being pointed to the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, a nine-furlong event June 13. Benson said he has been trying to harness Nashinda's speed and was pleased with her breeze here last Monday.

"She worked a nice five-eighths of a mile in 1:01.40," Benson said. "[Jockey] David Clark was on her, and she did it by herself. I haven't jacked her up to where she's going to be a speedball."

Also entered in the six-furlong Star Shoot are Dream About, Valid Move, Dana's Lucky Lady, and Ontheqt.

Dream About is another Oaks possibility who is coming off the sidelines. Trained by Josie Carroll, Dream About was a $270,000 2-year-old purchase by Arosa Farm and proved to be worth the money when she captured the Grade 2 Mazarine BC Stakes Sept. 20 in her third start.

Dream About was softened up in a speed duel in each of her last two outings at 2, finishing up the track on both occasions. She had some time off in Ocala, Fla. before going back into training early in the year at Palm Meadows, where she worked a bullet five-eighths in 1:00.20 on March 31.

"She's done everything right so far," said Carroll. "I just want to get her back on track."