09/14/2003 11:00PM

Puffer versus Tusayan in 13-horse field


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stakes winners Puffer and Tusayan are among the 13 entrants in Wednesday's Woodbine feature, a second-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up on the grass.

Puffer, a Sam-Son Farm homebred, was narrowly beaten in each of his first three outings, including a Keeneland allowance race in April. He graduated in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special at Woodbine on June 19, before losing an allowance race by a neck to Sam-Son castoff Hard Edge.

Puffer finished second to Geraint in his next-to-last start, in the Benburb Stakes at Fort Erie. He won the restricted With Approval Handicap at Woodbine over yielding ground most recently, leaving Hard Edge back in second.

Leading rider Todd Kabel will get a leg up from trainer Mark Frostad on Puffer, a son of turf champion Sky Classic.

Tusayan won his maiden against Ontario-sired 3-year-olds over soft ground in the six-furlong Bold Ruckus Stakes on June 4. He was fourth behind the Mobil, Strizzi, and future stakes winner Silver Tree in the June 22 Charlie Barley Handicap, before disappointing as the favorite in allowance company.

Tusayan rallied strongly down the center of a "good" course to win the one-mile Vice Regent two starts ago, but was a bust in a main-track allowance most recently. He would prefer some give to the ground, and it rained heavily here Monday.

Emile Ramsammy will ride Tusayan, who breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds on Aug. 31 for trainer Laurie Silvera.

Completing the field for the seven-furlong sprint are Crease Infraction, Wantanotherwon, Relaunch Star, Norfolk Knight, Jeepis Missed, Merlin's Moon, Sleek as Sleet, Square Bob, El General, Fire Blitz, and Sting Man.

Crease Infraction has performed well on both surfaces this year, finishing second in two turf sprints at this classification in July. His record of 3-12-2 in 29 starts speaks volumes about his hanging tendencies.

Norfolk Knight, who is making his turf debut, easily won a seven-furlong preliminary allowance two weeks ago. He worked five-eighths in a slow 1:02.40 over the turf training course last week, and has very little grass breeding.

Wantanotherwon was absent for a year when he landed a $50,000 claimer going a mile Sept. 5, a race that was marred by a spill. He might be encumbered by the shorter distance of this race.

Jeepis Missed failed to stay 1 1/8 amiles last time, when fourth in the restricted Halton Stakes. He could be dangerous with the turnback in distance and class drop.