10/09/2007 11:00PM

Stakes winners take a drop

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stakes winners Like a Gem and Sheer Enchantment head Friday's Woodbine feature, an $80,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Like a Gem captured the 2006 Wonder Where Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian triple tiara series for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies. She won that 1 1/4-mile turf route as a 48-1 outsider, upsetting Strike Softly and Kimchi in the process.

Like a Gem got a late start to her current campaign, which commenced with a distant second-place finish to Bear Now in the June 16 Hill 'N' Dale Stakes. Following a two-month absence, she finished fourth behind the upwardly mobile Arden Belle in the Belle Mahone, another stakes on Polytrack.

Most recently on turf in the Gradeo2 Canadian Stakes, Like a Gem broke about four lengths behind the rest of the field before running rankly on the backstretch. She never reached contention, but was beaten only five lengths by the one-two finishers Essential Edge and Sealy Hill.

Emma Wilson will ride Like a Gem for Hillsbrook Farm and trainer Danny Vella, the same combination that finished second in Monday's Grade 3 Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes with Cool Gator.

Sheer Enchantment won last year's restricted Halton Stakes over males. She was victorious in an $80,000 optional claimer in September 2006, and is eligible to run in Friday's feature because trainer Abraham Katryan entered her for an $80,000 tag.

Sheer Enchantment is winless in five starts at this meet. She wound up fifth after a wide trip two races ago in the one-mile Halton, and is coming off an improved third-place finish in the 1 1/2-mile Flaming Page.

The entry of Elkhart and Name in Lights figures to garner lots of support. Elkhart, who blew away $62,500 opposition going long on Polytrack in her latest, is making her first start on grass. She's by a successful dirt sire, Not for Love, but there are several turf stakes winners in her immediate female family, most notably Santa Amelia and Allende.

Name in Lights was an astute $32,000 claim from a Gulfstream maiden race last winter by trainer Nick Gonzalez. She has won two turf sprints at the meeting, including a $62,000 optional claimer Sept. 13, receiving a lifetime-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure, and could be the pacemaker.