08/05/2003 11:00PM

Northern Neechitoo gets a shot

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EDMONTON, Alberta - With Sly Lady on the sidelines with a throat infection, Friday's $40,000 Madamoiselle for older fillies and mares has become wide open.

Sly Lady is unquestionably the top older mare in Alberta and is riding a five-race winning streak, but trainer Ron Grieves elected to keep her out of the race as she recovers.

Northern Neechitoo, who has not won a stakes this year, will look to take advantage of Sly Lady's absence in this 1 1/16-mile race after having finished second to her last out.

Regular rider Quincy Welch will be aboard Northern Neechitoo, who will start from the rail and could dictate the running. An Alberta-bred 6-year-old trained by Floyd Arthur, Northern Neechitoo has $225,625 in earnings and is the class of the field of seven.

Also looking to win her first stakes of the year is Slewability, whose last stakes score came in the Ken Pearson Memorial in May 2002.

Considered one of the top fillies in the province just two years ago, Slewability is coming off a third in an allowance race on July 30. Perry Winters retains the mount.

Rounding out the field are Tuppence, This Cat Can, Kitscoty Klipper, S.L. Charmer, and Tahquitz Pride.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Sly Lady was dealing with the throat infection in her last race, the John Patrick on July 19, and lost a significant amount of weight before Grieves was able to nurse her back to health in the past week.

"She's been gaining the weight back and been training well, but it didn't make sense right now to push it," said Grieves. "Our goal all year has been the [Aug. 23] Edmonton Distaff, and she'll be ready for that."