09/04/2009 11:00PM

Turf horses in spotlight


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Two $28,750 turf Cup races highlight the nine-race Monday card at Fort Erie. The Labatt Cup for fillies and mares who have started three or more times here in 2009 will go as the fourth race, and the Puss N Boots Cup, a similar event for colts and geldings, is the seventh. The distance for both races is 1 1/16 miles.

The Labatt Cup has a well-balanced field, and several runners will be trying turf for the first time. Alkmene has a record of two wins in three turf starts and a best Beyer Speed Figure of 72 on the grass. Last year, Alkmene came from well back over this surface to notch that good turf figure in a win going a mile, and this year she has won going Monday's distance.

Closers may have the edge in the Labatt Cup, with speed to burn in the field.

Baffin will have Martin Ramirez aboard. She failed to fire last out on turf at Woodbine. She is at her best when there is a pace battle up front. Baffin has won two turf races and finished third in another, and her return to home grounds - where she won a turf race in July - could have her in a wake-up mood.

Rounding out the top three contenders is I See Rockets, from the Winston Wilkinson barn. This mare is as hard-trying as they come, and is 3 of 4 in the money in her turf efforts. Anthony Stephen will take her to the gate.

The Puss N Boots brings back last year's winner, Sandspit, a 10-year-old who has banked well over $200,000 and has four turf wins. Trained by Tony Alderson, Sandspit breaks from the outside post. Kirk Johnson will ride.

Cappal Mor will be sent out by the hot Nick Gonzalez barn, and this gelding has proven turf ability. He should be close up from the outset.

Great Addiction could have a say in the outcome as he has been going well since arriving at the Fort. Kris Robinson will be aboard.

The millionaire Judiths Wild Rush has tried the turf only once, without success, but his back class alone might bring him into the top three picture.

w Bradley Wilson won his fourth race last Sunday and has opted to put his tack away for the rest of the year, ensuring that he will keep his apprentice weight allowance through 2010.