11/22/2006 12:00AM

Riverada's last points her out


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Riverada should make some waves in Friday's Woodbine headliner, a 1o1/16-mile allowance for fillies and mares.

After struggling on the main track in her season opener, Riverada competed in five consecutive grass events. She won her maiden over seven furlongs Aug. 19, and wound up 10th after a wide journey in the Sept. 2 Ontario Colleen Stakes, but then rebounded with a third-place finish in a Sept.o21 allowance.

In her first start on the Polytrack, in an allowance sprint Nov. 3, Riverada rallied from the back of the pack to end up third over a surface that was kind to speed. The runner-up, Celebrate, subsequently recorded an 8-1 upset in a first-level allowance.

Robert Landry retains the mount on Riverada for trainer Danny Vella, a combination that has won 8 of 57 attempts at the meeting.

Empress Pegasus, the most intriguing entrant in the 14-horse field, is winless in two starts at Woodbine.

Empress Pegasus won her maiden convincingly in the Sept. 23 Matron Breeders' Cup Stakes at Assiniboia Downs. In her two previous starts at that Winnipeg oval, she finished second in the Assiniboia Oaks, and fifth against males in the Manitoba Derby.

Empress Pegasus finished sixth in both of her outings at Woodbine this fall, both allowance races, much to the dismay of trainer Marty Drexler. However, Drexler was tickled with her three-furlong blowout in 35.80 seconds on Tuesday under jockey Alan Cuthbertson.

"She sure did it easy," Drexler said. "We just wanted to put a little zip into her. The track wasn't very good, but she got over it like a star. She's doing great, but I can't say that she wasn't doing well before, though."

There are many speed types in the field, including Academy Star and Kirkela, who both are exiting a front-running victory in maiden special weight company.

Academy Star showed little on the grass before graduating on the Polytrack, and will probably be asked for some run early since she is breaking from the rail.

Kirkela, a daughter of popular sire Giant's Causeway, benefited from soft fractions when she earned her diploma in her second start after a long layoff.

Miss Meggie won her maiden second time out going a mile around one turn at Churchill Downs in June. She returned from a layoff here in the Nov. 12 Jammed Lovely Stakes and finished seventh after a five-wide trip.

Feistee Deer is hard to gauge in her first attempt on the Polytrack, although she has worked extensively over the surface.