05/06/2010 11:00PM

Awesome Rhythm starts out in sprint


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Awesome Rhythm had a very productive spring here at Woodbine in 2009, putting together a stakes triple in open two-turn races for 3-year-olds. Now, following a winter in Florida, Awesome Rhythm looks to start getting back into the groove when he makes his first start of the year in Sunday's Grade 3 Vigil.

The Vigil, a seven-furlong race for 4-year-olds and upward, attracted a strong field of seven, including champions Fatal Bullet and Field Commission, as well as the talented Hollywood Hit.

"It will be different, facing older horses all year," said trainer John Ross, who sent out Awesome Rhythm to conclude his 2009 campaign with a second-place finish behind the older horse Palladio in the Grade 2 Autumn at 1 1/16 miles. "The Vigil is more of a speed-oriented race but we have to go there, to get that start into him. And, if there's enough speed, he could pick up some of the pieces."

Ross sends Awesome Rhythm into the Vigil with a long-term eye toward the June 5 Eclipse, a Grade 3 race at 1 1/16 miles.

"He'll be better going two turns," said Ross.

Awesome Rhythm, a Sovereign Award finalist in the 3-year-old male division, has prepped solidly for his return, including a seven-furlong breeze in 1:26.40 on April 29.

Regular rider Jim McAleney was aboard for that drill and has the call for the Vigil.

Stylish Citizen waiting for turf

Ross also nominated Stylish Citizen to the Vigil but has opted to wait for another day.

"I'll be looking for a turf event," said Ross. "He worked on the turf pretty nicely, down in Florida. I'd like to start him out there."

The first turf stakes of the meeting will be the Grade 3 Connaught Cup, a $150,000 race at seven furlongs on May 30. The $91,100 allowance prep for the Connaught Cup, also at seven furlongs on the grass, is slated for May 15.

The 4-year-old Stylish Citizen won on both turf and Polytrack last year, with his main-track score coming in the off-the-turf Charlie Barley over one mile and 70 yards.

Costalivin points to New Providence

Costalivin is the other stakes winner in the Ross barn, having captured the restricted Deputy Minister over seven furlongs here last July.

"He had a little pus pocket in his back foot but he's on his way, going forward again," said Ross.

The 4-year-old Costalivin accompanied Awesome Rhythm through a five-furlong workout on April 29 and was clocked in 1:00.40, breezing.

His first major target is the $125,000 New Providence, a six-furlong race here June 9.