07/07/2008 11:00PM

Valeisha figures tough on the turf

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Thursday's Woodbine headliner seems fairly contentious at a glance, but when you peel back some of the layers, it looks like Valeisha should contend at a square price if the 6 1/2-furlong first-level allowance stays on the grass.

Valeisha fired big in her season opener on May 24, finishing second in a seven-furlong allowance on the turf with a 75 Beyer Speed Figure. The closer who was victorious, Eeny Meeny, subsequently ran second in the Zadracarta Stakes before being demoted to sixth by disqualification.

Eeny Meeny also boosted Valeisha's stock when she overcame traffic problems to land a second-level allowance/optional claimer last Sunday.

Valeisha finished fifth in her two June outings, which were both in allowances that were taken off the turf and contested on the Polytrack. Valeisha breaks from the rail and should be prominent throughout Thursday's race, with Anthony Stephen riding for trainer Peter Berringer.

Clear the Ice and Forestry's Magic finished third and fourth in the June 8 Alywow Stakes.

Clear the Ice stalked the pace from a four-wide position on the turn in the 6 1/2-furlong Alywow and wasn't beaten far for second. She won her maiden on the grass the time before, earning a 77 Beyer.

Forestry's Magic was a distant fourth behind the sharp New York shipper Passion after saving ground in the fast-paced Alywow.

Valentine Vixen could be a late threat in her first attempt in open allowance company. She defeated Ontario-sired maidens on the grass last September and then doubled up in an allowance sprint on the Polytrack. Last month, she closed strongly down the center of the course to topple nonwinners-of-three Ontario-sired allowance stock over seven furlongs.

Several entrants are trying the grass for the first time, including Grenade, Mimi Cooper, Polly N Lotty, and Esson Lake.

Grenade possesses a dirt-oriented pedigree. She has been freshened since her maiden triumph over five furlongs on May 19.

Mimi Cooper won each of her first three starts by a slim margin while climbing the claiming ladder, and wound up second against $62,500 opposition June 25. Both of her dam's turf starters failed to win.

Polly N Lotty is by Grade 1-winning turf expert Military. She's exiting a neck loss in a $40,000 conditioned claimer.

Esson Lake has maintained good form since she graduated in the fall, and is bred for the grass on the dam's side.