09/13/2006 11:00PM

Barilko could clinch title in Swynford


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Barilko, the pro-tem leader of the male 2-year-old division at Woodbine, will likely be the prohibitive favorite in Saturday's $125,000 Swynford Stakes.

Five of the past eight Swynford winners went on to be voted Canada's champion 2-year-old, and the unbeaten Barilko could be hard to overhaul for divisional honors if he were to win the seven-furlong event.

Barilko dusted $50,000 maidens when he debuted in a five-furlong dash July 3. He was even more impressive July 22 in the five-furlong Colin Stakes, leading throughout over a sloppy inner track to prevail by four lengths, earning an 88 Beyer Speed Figure.

Barilko posted another strong performance last time. Going around two turns on the inner track in the 7 1/2-furlong Silver Deputy Stakes, he led all the way en route to a 5 3/4-length victory, receiving a 64 Beyer.

Owner-trainer Dave Dwyer sent Barilko out for a half-mile breeze in a bullet 46 seconds over the Polytrack on Monday under jockey Constant Montpellier.

"He'd been training well on the Polytrack, and I just wanted to let him stretch his legs a little before the race," Dwyer said. "He had a minor foot bruise after his last race. We gave him a couple of extra days off. Connie said that he left running, but he didn't think that he went that fast. He's dead fit. He's a happy horse right now."

Dwyer said seven-eighths should be ideal for Barilko, who might not run again this year after Saturday.

"It should be right up his alley, especially coming off a 7 1/2-furlong race around two turns," Dwyer said. "If he wins, I'm leaning towards putting him away for the year. You only have so much water in the well. You've asked him to do four things, and he did what he had to do."

Barilko is named after the legendary Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bill Barilko, who scored the winning goal in the 1951 Stanley Cup final. Barilko disappeared later that summer in a plane crash in northern Ontario, and his remains weren't found until 1962.

Stillistillmovin is the lone filly in the 10-horse field.

Trained by Nick Gonzalez, Stillistillmovin is unbeaten in two starts. She trounced $40,000 maidens in her July 9 debut, and won the five-furlong Ontario Debutante Stakes with a 79 Beyer on Aug. 19.

Bilbo, a promising maiden, should be an off-the-pace threat off his runner-up placing in the Silver Deputy, in which he blew the first turn.