06/30/2005 11:00PM

Swasti flourishes on Canterbury turf


What appeared to be a gutsy claim in May now looks like a "gimme" as Swasti heads a field of 12 Minnesota-bred fillies and mares in the $40,000 Princess Elaine Stakes at Canterbury Park.

Swasti, a daughter of Beau Genius bred and campaigned by Kissoon Thoroughbreds, won 4 of 5 starts at Canterbury last season, an accomplishment that earned her statebred championship honors. Swasti was claimed in her seasonal debut at Hawthorne in May for $35,000 and gave her new connections pause when she failed dismally as the favorite in the Lady Slipper Stakes here, finishing ninth on the main track.

Swasti, who now races for Tom Metzen, Gary McCloud, and Newt Strandemo, improved markedly last month for trainer David Van Winkle when she won a statebred allowance on the grass with authority. Now a winner in 3 of 4 starts over the Canterbury turf course, Swasti will be the likely favorite in the Princess Elaine at 1 1/16-miles on the turf. Scott Stevens replaces Seth Martinez.

Martinez honored his first call for trainer Mac Robertson and Kissoon Thoroughbreds to ride Nishani, who exits an open company allowance where she finished sixth after pressing the pace. Nishani draws into a race with very little early pace and the turf course here has favored forwardly placed runners all meet, giving Nishani a chance to turn the tables on her former stablemate.

A. Caterina hasn't missed the board in four starts over the Canterbury turf but has yet to win a race on the grass. She finished second to Swasti in a turf allowance last month. Helen Vanek rides A. Caterina for trainer Gil Ciavaglia.

Canterbury chairman Curtis Sampson is represented by Grand Rapids Miss, who finished third in a recent try against second-level allowance foes. Grand Rapids Miss edged Nishani in a statebred allowance on the grass last season.