06/10/2003 11:00PM

'Weekend' heads feature


CALGARY, Alberta - Whataweekend, second behind Raylene here in the May 31 Lilac, heads a field of eight 3-year-old fillies in a conditioned, optional claiming race Friday evening.

Trainer Rick Hedge nominated Whataweekend to the Penny Ridge, Sunday's closing-day feature, but opted for this race instead.

There had been speculation that Raylene, winner of two stakes races already at this meet, would challenge male rivals in the $100,000 Alberta Derby Saturday but her connections are leaning toward the $40,000 Penny Ridge.

Whataweekend has now finished second to Raylene three times in stakes competition and this $19,000 sprint is a much more suitable spot.

Quincy Welch retains the mount and will break Whataweekend from post 3 in search of her second win at this meet.

The filly has finished out of the money only once in nine career starts - a fourth behind Raylene in the Freedom of the City last October - and should be favored in this field.

Her main challenge could come from A Shaky Start, a visually impressive winner over similar company May 28.

A Shaky Start rallied while four wide under rider Leanne Painter to capture the six-furlong race in 1:12 and was drawing away at the wire. She has now won three of four starts after being pulled up during the running of her career debut.

Real Simard replaces Painter, who is serving a three-day suspension. A Shaky Start will break from the outside post.