04/15/2008 11:00PM

Strong fields for turf sprints


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - There is only one stakes remaining, Saturday's Cicada for fillies and mares, before the 2008 Gulfstream meet ends Sunday. But Friday's card will offer two allowance races that could very well pass for stakes, both to be decided at five furlongs on the turf, one for fillies and mares and the other with no sex restriction. Both races offer a $50,000 purse.

Stakes winners Charlie Papa and Rgirldoesn'tbluff are among the nine females entered in the fourth race. Charlie Papa became one of the top local stories of 2007 when she won Calder's Cool Air Stakes for her seventh consecutive victory over nearly a three-year span. A former claimer who had been nursed through several physical ailments by trainer Connie Kendall during that period, Charlie Papa has not had the same kind of success since her victory in the Cool Air, having gone winless in three subsequent starts, including a pair of races during the current Tampa Bay Downs meet.

Rgirldoesn'tbluff won back-to-back main-track stakes last fall at Calder and more recently finished second behind local division leader Sugar Swirl in the Grade 3 First Lady Stakes on Jan. 13. Rgirldoesn'tbluff has started only once on grass, finishing third early in her career, and she is supported by her stablemate Shadow Belle on Thursday.

Lady Rizzi may actually prove the one to beat if she can repeat her Jan. 31 local debut, a half-length victory over the speedy One Hot Wish under softer allowance conditions on the turf. One Hot Wish flattered the effort when she returned to dominate in her next start. Lady Rizzi has won her only two starts on grass at distances less than six furlongs.

The stakes winner Mr. Silver is among the leading candidates in the eighth race. He is exiting a third-place finish behind Not Acclaim in which he was steadied several times from tight quarters near the rail. Mr. Silver, 5, is winless since his 3-year-old campaign but was stakes-placed in turf sprints on three consecutive occasions last summer at Monmouth Park and Saratoga.

Not Acclaim defeated Mr. Silver by three lengths after getting loose on an easy lead when the pair met last month. He will again stand some catching if able to relax on the front end.

Prosico, who has held his own with the best turf sprinters at Tampa Bay Downs this winter, is also a key contender.