04/08/2004 11:00PM

Three have shot at first turf win


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sunday's $60,000 Yankee Affair Stakes is carded at five furlongs on the turf and, not surprisingly, drew a number of turf sprint specialists, such as Ghostly Numbers, True Love's Secret, Callthesheriff, and Take Achance on Me. But it wouldn't be surprising if the winner is one of three horses who have never won a race on grass.

have limited turf experience and nary a single grass victory between them. But all have enough speed and class to give the logical choices a run for their money.

Twilight Road was overmatched against Strong Hope in his only previous start this season. A Grade 3 winner on dirt, Twilight Road's only previous turf experience came in his 2003 finale, when he finished a tiring sixth going a mile at high-priced optional claiming and allowance conditions in Kentucky.

Formerly trained by Paul McGee and now trained by David Fawkes, Twilight Road enters the Yankee Affair off a pair of very sharp five-furlong main track works at Calder.

"He's doing awfully well since Paul left him with us, and it should be kind of interesting to see how he handles going back to the grass," Fawkes said.

Canadian Frontier has twice had his career interrupted by injuries, including a condylar fracture of his ankle that kept him sidelined for eight months. He finally returned here earlier this winter to win a pair of allowance races in wire-to-wire fashion.

"He has a lot of natural speed," said trainer Stan Hough. "He also seemed to show a liking for grass at the time he tried it earlier in his career. He's improved since then and the distance should suit him well."

Cripple Creek earned a 107 Beyer winning an allowance race over the main track March 3. Nineteen days later, he finished third, beaten a neck, after contesting all the pace in his turf debut.

True Love's Secret has won 15 races on turf, including 11 at the distance and three over this course. His latest success was a hard-fought neck victory under a $40,000 claiming tag March 24.

Ghostly Numbers is a four-time turf winner, all at five furlongs, but has not started since Oct. 25. He is no stranger to local fans, having finished second behind the odds-on Texas Glitter in the 2002 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap.

Take Achance on Me finished second despite a rough trip in the 2003 Yankee Affair, but is winless in his last nine starts.