02/29/2008 1:00AM

Salomea prepping for Woodbine Oaks

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The 3-year-old filly Salomea is one of the main reasons Canadian-based trainer David Cross decided to winter at Oaklawn this meet for the first time since 1998. She will make her season debut Sunday in the ninth race, a second-level allowance at six furlongs that drew stakes winners Wonderful Luck, Elocution, and Judy Faye.

Salomea is Cross's hope for the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks at Woodbine on June 8.

"She's got a lot of ability," said the trainer, who won the Kentucky Derby with Sunny's Halo in 1983. "So, I brought her down here to get her ready, because it can be hard to get a horse ready up there because of the weather. It's a mile and an eighth run in June."

Cross said he likes Oaklawn's stakes series for 3-year-old fillies. With a good performance by Salomea on Sunday, Cross plans to run her in the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee here March 16. Sunday's race will be her first since Dec. 5, when she ran a troubled third in the $150,000 Ontario Lassie at 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine.

"She had a wide trip," said Cross. "She came out of the 9 hole and that's where she stayed. It was not the pilot's fault. There was no chance for her to get down to the inside at any time."

Salomea won her two starts leading into that race, winning her maiden at seven furlongs Nov. 3, and taking a first-level allowance at six furlongs Nov. 16. She is by Milwaukee Brew, and her dam, Roaring Twenties, won the Grade 1 Selene. For her return from the layoff, Salomea, who races for Scarlett Lynne Hindmarsh, has been working at Oaklawn.

"I would imagine she'd take a race, but it's hard to say," said Cross. "She's a funny filly in that she doesn't pack all that weight. She's rangy, and those kind usually don't need too much to get them [ready]."

Salomea will break from post 4 under Calvin Borel.

Wonderful Luck, who won the $77,000 Cinderella at Hollywood Park last May, and Elocution, winner of the $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies last August, are both returning from layoffs for trainer Steve Asmussen. The horses race for separate interests.

Palanka City is cutting back to six furlongs, where she is multiple-stakes-placed, after finishing fourth in the $100,000 Martha Washington at a mile Feb. 17.

Judy Faye won the $71,000 Iowa Sorority.