06/01/2006 11:00PM

Big fields, good horses finally here


CALGARY, Alberta - The rain subsided, the course was once again fast, and there was an audible sigh of relief from the race office and other quarters once race secretary Russ Armstrong put his stamp of approval on Sunday's program here at Stampede Park. Short fields of less than stellar quality plagued the meeting in the last month.

Sunday's fifth race showcases the best superfecta offering of the entire meet with a full field of 10 older horses sprinting in a $30,000 claimer. There is speed, as Saw Grass Sabre, Sweet Drummer, and Dance Me Free will ensure honest fractions. And there are good closers such as Crown's Justice, Fancy Bru, Epic Knight, and Value of Gold to add spice to the mix.

The featured seventh race, a conditioned allowance at six furlongs, drew a field of eight of the best sprinters on the grounds. Golden Hunt, Hot Talk, Love's Conquest, and Cool Bender will vie for the early lead, while Blue Comin Thru, Bonspiel, and Beau Brass can be expected to make late bids.

Golden Hunt, winner of two sprint stakes last year and quite possibly the quickest horse out of the gate in these parts, drew the rail and will be away and winging under Ron Blinston.

Beau Brass, a 6-year-old gelding, is nominated to the 1 1/16-mile Herald Gold Plate here June 11. While he probably is better going long, Beau Brass won a similar allowance sprinting here last spring and will appreciate the anticipated rapid fractions.