12/06/2007 12:00AM

Arch Hall seeks record

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Arch Hall will try to become the first horse to win the same Woodbine stakes in four consecutive years Saturday in the $125,000 Sir Barton, a 1 1/16-mile route for Ontario-sired runners.

Arch Hall, a 6-year-old trained by Mark Casse, has won 10 of 30 starts, for earnings of $781,406. His first Sir Barton score came over a muddy track against 3-year-olds in 2004. In 2005, the Sir Barton was opened up to older runners, and Arch Hall prevailed over a salty field while receiving a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

Arch Hall mounted his patented rally to take last year's Sir Barton by a neck with a 92 Beyer. His lone win in four starts this year came in a Sept. 1 allowance.

Arch Hall met open stakes company in his two most recent races. He was a troubled third in the Grade 3 Durham Cup and a flat fourth in the Grade 3 Autumn.

"He's doing good, but maybe he's lost a step," Casse said. "He's been running against much tougher."

Soul Rebel, a lightly-raced 5-year-old, could be the main threat to end the streak, even though he hasn't started since June 9.

Soul Rebel has won each of his five races following a layoff of at least six weeks, if you include his career debut. He has never won a stakes, but was only beaten a half-length by Arch Hall when third in last year's Sir Barton.

Soul Rebel makes his first start for trainer Catherine Day Phillips on Saturday.

"We've had him since the beginning of October," Day Phillips said. "He came to us off a little bit of a break on the farm. He was off for most of September. We're just getting to know him, and we've been bringing him back slowly. He's been breezing well in company. We haven't asked a lot of him, but he's obviously very fast. He gets himself ready."

Soul Rebel's two most recent works were both five-furlong drills in 59.60 seconds on the Polytrack.

Executive Choice and Cobotown Ron also are in the 10-horse field.

Executive Choice was second in the 2006 Sir Barton. He has struggled since his front-running victory in the June 9 Steady Growth Stakes, for which he got a 101 Beyer.

Cobotown Ron has risen through the ranks this year, going from a low-level claimer to a multiple allowance winner.

* Post time for Saturday's first race has been rolled back from 1:10 to 12:40 p.m.