11/02/2004 12:00AM

Is 10th try charm for Johnny Magic?


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Johnny Magic has taken nine cracks at the nonwinners-of-two-lifetime allowance category for Ontario-sired runners, and might finally clear that condition in Thursday's 1 1/16-mile feature at Woodbine.

Johnny Magic won his maiden around two turns in his final 2003 appearance for trainer Malcolm Pierce, but is winless in nine starts this year. He has hit the board five times at the meeting while earning $54,530.

Johnny Magic earned a career-high 82 Beyer Speed Figure when he was a closing second to Chivas three races ago. The third-place finisher in that seven-furlong allowance, late-blooming Millfleet, has since captured two stakes, including last Sunday's Bunty Lawless.

Johnny Magic subsequently ran sixth on the grass. Most recently, in another seven-furlong allowance on the dirt, he rallied wide over an inside-biased track to finish a close third.

Leading rider Todd Kabel retains the mount on Johnny Magic.

Among the others entered in Thursday's headliner are Arch Hall, Dashing Monty, Irish Gambit, Tracy's Tonka Toy, and Flashy Dash.

Turf specialist Arch Hall received an 83 Beyer for his runner-up placing in an Oct. 2 allowance. He was previously seventh in the restricted Vice Regent Stakes, which came on the heels of his maiden-winning performance on the grass.

Trainer Mark Casse, who has been winning at a 15-percent clip with the turf-to-dirt angle, sent out Arch Hall for a five-furlong work in 1:01 on the main track Oct. 20.

Late-running Dashing Monty lost a nonwinners-of-three allowance by a nose over a muddy Fort Erie strip in his first attempt for trainer Paul Nielsen on Aug. 30. He has been freshened since ending up seventh behind Johnny Magic and Millfleet here Sept. 18.

Nielsen has been scoring at a 20-percent rate with both his sprint-to-route runners, and his horses returning from a short layoff.

Irish Gambit dueled up front along the inside over a rail-favoring track when he won his maiden traveling seven furlongs Oct. 21. His lone two-turn attempt resulted in a non-threatening performance in a key maiden special on Sept. 25.

Tracy's Tonka Toy has run two mediocre races since returning from a summer layoff. He's stretching out from a long sprint, and was third going 1 1/8 miles in the 2003 Victoria Park Stakes.

Flashy Dash raced wide throughout when seventh in an open allowance Oct. 16. He wound up sixth in his lone Ontario-sired allowance start in September.