07/17/2003 11:00PM

Puffer looks to turn luck around

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Two half-brothers from the powerful stable of Sam-Son Farm are expected to be major players on the Prince of Wales program Sunday.

Shoal Water gets second billing in the $500,000 Prince of Wales, while his older brother Puffer is the headliner in the 10-horse Benburb, one of two supporting stakes scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The $68,900 Benburb is for male runners, and the $65,300 Border Cup is for the females. Both are for Canadian-breds, 3 and up.

Puffer, a 4-year-old who has one win from five starts, all on turf, made his debut Jan. 12 at Fair Grounds. In the four losses, three were by a neck and the other was by a head. Trainer Mark Frostad said Puffer should have won his first three races.

"In the first race, he got hit in the head when the gate sprang back on him," Frostad said. "In his next start he got caught in a pocket, had trouble getting out, [was steadied] and just missed. Then in the next, he was wide."

Puffer's main opposition is expected to come from Geraint, an earner of $476,315. Geraint, a 7-year-old gelding, is trained by Catherine Day-Phillips.

Also holding a strong hand in the Benburb is Fort Erie-based trainer Myckie Neubauer, who will saddle the entry of Go Figure and Wide Release. Go Figure, a claim for $22,500, earned $170,545 for Neubauer's outfit last year.

"Go Figure ran well in a lot of big races last year," Neubauer said. "He's won a stakes and he's won on the turf. He's as good as he can be right now. We entered Wide Release when we heard the field might be small."

Wide Release, 9, has won both of his starts this year, one on the dirt and the other on turf. Seven of his 11 lifetime scores have come on turf.

Royal Dalliance tops Border Cup

Royal Dalliance, a winner of the June 29 H.A. Hindmarsh Stakes here, heads a field of six in the Border Cup.

A 6-year-old mare trained by Joanna Iglar-Hughes, Royal Dalliance has won two of her five starts this year and finished second twice. However, she has been winless in six turf attempts, none of which was recent.

Clubay, trained by Ralph Biamonte, and Agolo, trained by Day-Phillips, each have scored three wins on the turf. Clubay's most recent two outings were wins in grass sprints. Agolo would appear to have an edge at the 1 1/16-mile distance.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will make a presentation to Layne Giliforte during the Prince of Wales program to honor him for being the leading trainer at the Fort in 2002.