05/26/2004 11:00PM

Allowance a possible derby prep

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CALGARY, Alberta - Discretion became the better part of valor as several promising 3-year-olds were entered in a conditioned allowance Saturday rather than in the $40,000 Hoofprint on My Heart on Sunday.

A good performance in Saturday's one-mile allowance - as well as in the Hoofprint on My Heart - would earn a ticket to the $100,000 Alberta Derby June 19.

Leading trainer Red Smith nominated three 3-year-olds to the Hoofprint, including President's winner Saw Grass Sabre. On Saturday, Smith will saddle Curious Gamble, stakes placed at 2, who won his maiden three weeks ago and may require more seasoning before tackling the best of his division.

Rickey Walcott retains the mount aboard Curious Gamble, an Alberta-bred who rallied four wide in his maiden tally going a mile May 8.

His opposition includes Cool Lad, a Kentucky-bred who has given every indication that he will handle the stretchout to a mile after making closing bids in a pair of sprint preps. Leading rider Quincy Welch is aboard and must overcome the outside post in the field of eight. A short run to the first turn is a major obstacle.

Trained by Ron Grieves, Cool Lad adds Lasix for this start.

Awesome Devil, who ran wide in his last start, and Controlled Meeting, who raced evenly after breaking poorly in his latest outing, also are contenders in the allowance.

Tamingo made an impressive move over a muddy surface to best $20,000 claimers in a May 9 sprint in a manner indicating the extra yardage will be to his advantage, and he is worth a look at a price.