11/10/2004 12:00AM

Spring Festival at home on turf


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Sprinting on turf has proven a tonic for Spring Festival, who has won two straight since moving from dirt routes. Now, she has to hope that the nighttime is the right time, too. In an attempt to win her third consecutive race, Spring Festival will headline the featured second race on the second and final Friday night program of the fall meeting at Hollywood Park.

Post time is 7:05 p.m Pacific.

The Friday card was supposed to be topped by the inaugural Sunday Silence Stakes, a $50,000 event at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds, but the race drew just three entrants and was scrapped.

"We gave it a shot, but it didn't go," said Martin Panza, Hollywood Park's racing secretary.

Instead, a $40,000 second-level allowance sprint for older fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf offers the biggest prize money of the evening.

Spring Festival was claimed by trainer Julio Canani in April for $40,000 on behalf of owners Marty and Pam Wygod. The Wygods bred the filly and raced her for her first four starts, with trainer John Shirreffs, before losing her in March for $40,000 to trainer Rafael Becerra. Canani got her 33 days later.

lost her first three starts for Canani. She was second twice going long at Hollywood Park, then ran miserably the first week of the meet at Del Mar. It was after that performance that Canani decided to try Spring Festival on turf and shorten her up to a sprint.

"Her first two races for me were good, but after the third time I decided she was just a sprinter," Canani said Wednesday. "I wanted to run her in a starter allowance, but a Cal-bred race came up instead. She got left, bumped, was last turning for home, and still won."

That was on Aug. 6 at Del Mar. Two months later, Spring Festival won a downhill turf sprint at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting. She earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

"Now I know she likes the grass," Canani said. "Before, she was just eating it."

Of the four remaining runners, The Dempsey Look might have the best chance of stopping Spring Festival's winning ways. The Dempsey Look is a two-time winner sprinting on the Hollywood Park turf. She was second against a high-priced claiming field in her last start at Santa Anita on Oct. 20.

Dewey's Trick has never finished worse than third in four turf sprints, including a win and a second at Hollywood.

Awesome Lady has finished in the money just once in six turf tries. Perennial bridesmaid Sunshine Dreamer has one win and 14 seconds in her last 24 outings.