10/05/2003 11:00PM

At 7, Code Name Fred still has zing

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EDMONTON, Alberta - After Code Name Fred missed the entire 2002 season, many believed that he would never make it back to the stakes level in Alberta, if at all.

In his first start in 2003, Code Name Fred was obviously rusty and finished more than nine lengths back. He was only marginally better in his next trip, finishing well back in another optional claiming/allowance race.

But when stretched out to a mile for his final start at the Stampede meeting, Code Name Fred was a winner at the same level.

Code Name Fred's first start in Edmonton came July 5 in the $40,000 Spangled Jimmy, where he finished a distant fourth behind Kalfaari and Sixthirtyjoe. But Code Name Fred, a 7-year-old, then was sidelined while nursing a splint injury.

After Code Name Fred turned in some excellent workouts recently, trainer Ron Grieves decided to give his favorite horse another opportunity this past Saturday. However, Grieves admitted before the race that Code Name Fred, a winner of more than $350,000 lifetime, might not be able to handle top-level competition any more.

While Grieves had a number of questions, they were all answered after Code Name Fred surged down the lane to win an allowance/optional claimer against a tough field that included Fussy's Kid and King Jeremy.

"You never know," Grieves said. "His half-brother had the best year of his career as an 8-year-old, so he still might have something left in the tank."

With no stakes races left on the local calendar, Grieves will now ship Code Name Fred to the farm for the winter before the big Alberta-bred returns to action in the spring of 2004.