08/06/2001 12:00AM

Beware of new-model Indian Dan


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A couple of changes will often do a horse a world of good.

A case in point is Indian Dan, who wasn't competitive in his three spring outings over Woodbine's main track, after which trainer John Ross had him gelded.

Indian Dan won his debut on turf when he returned from a layoff July 6, and should be among the favorites in Wednesday's $105,500 Vice Regent Stakes, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Indian Dan was dismissed at 23-1 in that grass race, in which he dueled on the lead before holding off Swedespin and favored Lucky Old Sun to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

Ross believes the change in surface and having Indian Dan gelded helped turn the horse around.

"I think it was a combination of the two things," Ross said. "He wasn't focused and concentrating, and now he's got a better attitude, but the turf was number one. I tried to get him on the grass earlier, but it rained, and the race came off. Things weren't going right with him on the dirt, so I stopped and tried something totally different with him."

Ross said Indian Dan had a license to enjoy the grass, especially since his full sister, Lynclar, was a stakes performer over that surface.

"Lynclar was a nice filly who loved the turf," Ross said. "Indian Dan has a beautiful foot for turf - it's a big, full foot."

Ross and owner Sid Cooper considered running Indian Dan in Saturday's 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, but ultimately decided against it.

"Mr. Cooper and I talked it over," Ross said. "We know that he'll go a mile, and 1 1/2 miles is a bit of a guessing game. I've focused on the Vice Regent. I could have run him back [before this race], but I didn't. I wanted him to stay strong and be right on his game this race. He's had some good workouts in between."

From the rail out, the Vice Regent lineup: Deputy Ruler with Patrick Husbands up; Indian Dan, Na Somsanith; Kings Reception, Jim McAleney; Devil Valentine, Emile Ramsammy; Max the Great, Jake Barton; Starbeau, Richard Dos Ramos; Stubsy, Brian Swatuk; and Playing With Fire, Ray Sabourin.

Kings Reception closed for second the first time he tried the grass in the restricted Bold Ruckus Stakes on June 6. He earned an 88 Beyer while winning his only subsequent start, in an optional claimer on the turf.

John Coryat trains Kings Reception, who is making his first start beyond six furlongs.

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