07/29/2007 11:00PM

Banjo Babe sharp for sprint try


EDMONTON, Alberta - Banjo Babe, upset winner of the one-mile John Patrick Handicap here July 15, cuts back to 6 1/2 furlongs and heads a field of seven fillies and mares at Northlands Park on Wednesday. The optional $40,000 claiming feature offers a $22,000 purse and serves as a major prep for the $50,000 Madamoiselle at 1 1/16 miles on Aug. 10.

Banjo Babe ran down the heavily favored She's Italian last out under Stephan Heiler, and her interim five-furlong bullet work of 1:00.20 shows the 6-year-old retains her sharp form for trainer Don Gilkyson. Her 5-for-9 record at the distance indicates the return to a sprint will not be a problem. Heiler breaks Banjo Babe from post 6.

Hastings invader Virtuous Lady is the one to catch. She has made the lead in all four of her 2007 starts, against some of British Columbia's top fillies and mares. Jake Barton has accepted the call from trainer John Snow, and Virtuous Lady breaks from post 4.

* Test Boy ($10.30) captured the Don Fleming Handicap here last Saturday. He circled the field at the top of the turn for home and ran down Trick of the North in midstretch to prevail by two lengths. Teagues Fight, sent off at 4-5 in search of his third straight stakes score, was in perfect striking position down the backstretch but failed to fire and finished seventh in the field of eight. Test Boy ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.20 to earn his second stakes victory of the campaign.