05/15/2003 12:00AM

Preakness Profiles: Foufa's Warrior


STRENGTHS: The Maryland homebred Foufa's Warrior has hit the board in both starts since moving from statebred to graded stakes company. He finished third in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby behind Ten Most Wanted, then ran a big race in his turf debut last out in the Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf, behind Senor Swinger.

A lightly raced horse who is quickly improving, Foufa's Warrior is coming out of a less demanding race than the Kentucky Derby starters are, and was very sharp in his half-mile workout for the Preakness.

WEAKNESSES: His Beyer Figures are lower than those of any other starters in this field. His top figure is a 91 while the Derby winner ran a 108, and his best race has been on turf. He has also had trouble at the break in his last three starts and has left himself with way too much to do in the stretch.

STRATEGY: This gelding may have a shot if he gets a clean break. There is a lot of speed in this race, and they'll be out of his reach if he spots them several lengths at the start like he has done against lesser company. He'll be flying at the end but isn't fast enough to make up the lost ground if he's too far out of it.

VALUE: Foufa's Warrior was 11-1 in a Grade 3 stakes on turf last out. He figures to be one of the longshots of the field, probably at odds between 20-1 and 30-1 or even higher with the step up to Grade 1 company.