05/30/2007 11:00PM

Welcome Inn tries turf


Two of the top three finishers from last December's Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship will make their turf and two-turn debuts in the $75,000 Pearl Necklace Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Maryland-bred 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico.

Welcome Inn has been idle since winning the one-mile Maryland Juvenile Fillies by a neck, and Paying Off, who rallied to get third that day, comes off a third in the six-furlong Peach Blossom May 19 at Delaware.

Welcome Inn has the better pedigree of the two for grass. She's a half-sister to Montgomery's Arch, who won $228,229 on the turf in England, France, and the United Arab Emirates. That total includes a win in a Group 2 stakes and a third in a Group 1 race.

The statistics aren't quite so rosy for Paying Off. Her sire, Malibu Moon, is only 4 for 72 with first-time turf runners. Her trainer, John Robb, is 1 for 8 the last five years with first-time turf horses switching from sprints to routes.

Among those who have already raced on turf, Ziggly comes out of the fastest race, a narrow win over first-level allowance runners on May 17. Her come-home final fraction of 30.60 seconds is far superior to Marias Golden Rose, who needed 32.80 seconds to complete a head victory over high-priced optional claimers nearly a month ago.