10/02/2001 11:00PM

What to do with Julie's Witt?


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The classy Julie's Witt should be tough if she runs her best race in Friday's $60,000 Woodbine headliner.

A field of six fillies and mares will line up in the $100,000 optional claimer, which will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs on the grass.

Ontario Debutante Stakes winner Platel heads another feature on the card, a 5 1/2-furlong allowance for 2-year-old fillies, which has also attracted Muskoka Stakes winner Miss Noire.

Julie's Witt won two stakes on the grass here two years ago, in 1999, including the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Damsel. But she struggled through most of 2000, going winless in 10 starts, before finally ending the slump with a win in her second start this year on the main track.

Julie's Witt has competed strictly in optional claimers since she ran fifth in the May 13 Hendrie Handicap, and was second in an $80,000 grass event July 4. She has been absent since her stirring Aug. 4 performance at this level, in which she battled through rapid splits before holding off a closing Cryptic Response to win by a head. Her seven-furlong time of 1:22.40 was good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

Ray Sabourin, currently seventh in the Woodbine rider standings, has the call from trainer Norm DeSouza, who has entered Julie's Witt with a $95,000 claiming price.

Rounding out the eighth-race field will be Serena's Tune, Guysmarlene, Sports Flashy, Ring of Flowers, and With the Wind.

Serena's Tune, a $1 million yearling by Mr. Prospector out of champion Serena's Song, won the La Habra Stakes at Santa Anita in March for trainer Neil Drysdale. She ran poorly in her next two starts, and was subsequently turned over to trainer Josie Carroll.

Serena's Tune romped here July 4 in her first attempt for Carroll in a 6 1/2-furlong turf dash at the $80,000 optional-claiming level. She failed to stay a mile in each of her next two starts, however, finishing well back on both occasions.

Leading rider Todd Kabel retains the mount on 3-year-old Serena's Tune.

Sports Flashy landed her first stakes in the minor Rainbow Connection on the Fort Erie turf in July. She finished seventh behind the likes of Confessional and Heliotrope after forcing the pace in the Grade 3 Royal North Handicap Aug. 4, and was victorious as the controlling speed most recently in a seven-furlong optional claimer on the main track. Trainer Earl Barnett will give Mickey Walls a leg up on Sports Flashy.