05/12/2004 12:00AM

Western Hemisphere tries turf


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Western Hemisphere was the weaker half of the Golden Eagle Farm entry when she finished second to stablemate Yearly Report in the $200,000 Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park on April 24.

When returns in a $50,000 allowance race for California-bred fillies and mares on Friday, she has the strongest credentials in a large field. The allowance race is run over 1 1/16 miles on turf, and marks Western Hemisphere's first start on that surface.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Western Hemisphere has one victory in three starts, a five-length maiden win sprinting in her second career start. In the Melair Stakes, she lost by four lengths to Yearly Report in her first start around two turns. Friday at Pimlico, Yearly Report starts in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.

Friday's allowance race at Hollywood Park has drawn three other fillies with stakes experience - The Toast of Troy, Tiz Royalty, and Iza Legend.

The Toast of Troy led to the final turn of the Fran's Valentine Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf on April 24 before fading to finish seventh. Trained by Barry Abrams, The Toast of Troy won consecutive races at Santa Anita at the beginning of the year - a maiden claimer and a starter allowance - but has lost her last four starts. She was third at this level in two races at a mile on turf at Santa Anita earlier this spring.

was sixth in the Irish O'Brien Stakes on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on March 17. The race's winner, Bear Fan, returned to win the Grade 2 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park last Sunday.

Tiz Royalty followed the Irish O'Brien loss with a second in an allowance race on April 15, finishing two lengths ahead of The Toast of Troy. Trained by Mark Glatt, Tiz Royalty is winless in her last seven starts.

Iza Legend was fourth in the Melair Stakes, finishing 11 lengths behind Yearly Report. Trained by Lewis Cenicola, Iza Legend is making her turf debut on Friday.

Cenicola and owner Gerald Redman nominated Iza Legend to Saturday's $100,000 Senorita Stakes but will opt for the allowance race.

Iza Legend led to the final turn of the Melair Stakes before she was challenged. Cenicola said Iza Legend may be sent to the lead on Friday, even though The Toast of Troy has shown speed.

"She's pretty versatile," Cenicola said of Iza Legend. "I'll let her run out of there. I don't want to get stuck going into the first turn."