10/15/2007 11:00PM

Awad offers Euro-flavored cast


ELMONT, N.Y. - Turf sprints have become a staple in New York - three of them are scheduled Thursday - but the featured $75,000 Awad Stakes is a test of stamina at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf.

Carded as race 8, the Awad drew nine turf-meant runners and two 13-time winners - Evening Attire and Angelic Aura - entered for dirt only.

Not surprisingly for a long-distance turf race, the Awad has a European flair: Barastraight and Centaurus were bred in England; Encinas and Schoolboy were bred in Germany; and True Cause was bred in Kentucky but began his career with six races in England for Godolphin Racing, including a win in a listed stakes.

True Cause returned from an extended layoff with two third-place finishes, before rallying from last to win an optional claimer at Delaware Park most recently. Tricky Causeway, a front-running allowance winner at Thursday's distance back in May, stretches out after chasing in a 1 1/16-mile race first time out in seven weeks. He figures to set a controlled pace.

Prince Rahy is still eligible for second-level allowance conditions, but is also stakes-placed and defeated several of his Thursday rivals in the summer.

Schoolboy is a maiden, but two starts back finished second to Bold Hawk, winner of last Saturday's Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby.

Pair of 2-year-olds work for Tagg

Barclay Tagg's promising 2-year-olds, Tale of Ekati and Big Truck, had workouts on Tuesday and are on schedule for upcoming stakes races.

Tale of Ekati, who will be among the choices in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile off a sharp score in Belmont's Grade 2 Futurity, breezed a mile at Monmouth Park in 1:43 flat under Eibar Coa.

"He did everything he was supposed to do," said Tagg. "He went off pretty slow and finished good. All in all, I got what I wanted out of him. I wanted to work him around two turns."

Big Truck, winner of the recent Bertram F. Bongard at 1-5, worked five furlongs in a bullet 59.72 seconds, the fastest of seven works at the distance, on Belmont's main track. Big Truck will be favored to remain unbeaten - and mirror the 2-year-old campaign of Funny Cide - in the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes on Saturday's New York Showcase Day program.

Also at Monmouth, Benny the Bull, runner-up in the Grade 1 Forego last out, worked five furlongs in 1:00 flat, the second-fastest of 15 works at the distance, in preparation for the BC Sprint.