06/03/2009 12:00AM

Shawanaga seeks third win in a row


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Shawanaga will try to extend her unbeaten streak at the Woodbine meet to three races in Friday's headliner, a third-level optional $80,000 claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on the grass.

Shawanaga kicked off her campaign April 19 with a victory over $40,000 claimers, which was her first start in nine months. Three weeks later, she defeated $50,000 opposition by two lengths, earning a lifetime-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

Shawanaga hasn't tried the grass since last June, but she has won 3 of 5 starts over that surface. Her first turf score came nearly two years ago in a seven-furlong maiden special, and she promptly doubled up in a first-level allowance. She won again by disqualification in August 2007, after ending up second after a troubled trip in a second-level optional claiming event.

Trainer Nick Gonzalez will give jockey Ray Sabourin a leg up on Shawanaga, who's entered with a $77,500 claiming price.

The sixth race has lured a hodge-podge of fillies and mares.

Kentucky shipper Maree Basse, a French import trained by Fred Seitz, is making her first start in North America. She won her maiden at a minor track on turf, and her other two victories came over Polytrack at Deauville.

Maree Basse, idle since November, worked five-eighths in a bullet 1:00 from the gate at Keeneland on May 22.

Tribal Belle, the probable pacemaker, is a two-time winner on the dirt at Hastings, and a four-time winner here on the Poly. She almost led throughout the 6 1/2-furlong Ruling Angel Stakes in October, and prevailed with ease in a six-furlong optional claimer in her first start of the year May 9.

Tribal Belle has never tried the grass, a surface for which she possesses little breeding.

Much Obliged has been idle since her wide seventh-place finish behind a sharp Acoma in the Grade 3 Valley View Stake at Keeneland in October. She captured the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas last summer at Arlington, before dropping a neck decision in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth.

Much Obliged's trainer, Malcolm Pierce, has been winning at a 22 percent clip with horses coming off a layoff of at least six months on turf, according to DRF's Formulator.

Hello Maggie May overtook Tribal Belle in the final strides to win her first stakes in the Ruling Angel. Her lone turf effort was disappointing, and she hasn't cracked the top three so far this year.