07/08/2004 11:00PM

Chris's Bad Boy ready for showdown


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Chris's Bad Boy, Woodbine's six-furlong track record holder, will lock horns with the top local 3-year-old sprinter, Twisted Wit, at 6 1/2 furlongs in Sunday's $141,250 Bold Venture Handicap.

Chris's Bad Boy set the track record (1:08.05) when he won the Kennedy Road Stakes in his final 2003 outing. He launched his current campaign with another stakes victory at six furlongs, in the Jacques Cartier.

Chris's Bad Boy had his five-race win streak broken in his last start May 1, in the seven-furlong Vigil Handicap, when a razor-sharp Mobil blew by him in deep stretch.

Trainer Vito Armata said he bypassed the June 27 Highlander Handicap with Chris's Bad Bay because he didn't want to face reigning Canadian sprint champion Soaring Free on the grass.

"I've got to pick my spots with him," Armata said. "He runs on the turf, but doesn't move up on it. He's in good order right now. He's been working awesome. In his last work he went [five-eighths] in a minute and change, without even pushing him."

Twisted Wit captured two stakes as a 2-year-old, and got a 100 Beyer Speed Figure when he won the seven-furlong Queenston Stakes in his season opener. After bombing in the nine-furlong Plate Trial Stakes, he won the six-furlong Achievement Handicap July 1, despite being checked on the backstretch to avoid clipping heels with a loose horse.

Trainer Bob Tiller is apprehensive about running Twisted Wit back on 10 days' rest Sunday, but he said there is nowhere else to run the gelding until the Sept. 5 Kenora, a stakes for graduates of local yearling sales.

"He's got to take on older horses, but he's not far from doing that for the rest of his career anyway," Tiller said. "He's a one-turn horse. Up to seven-eighths, he's a very good horse."

Norfolk Knight, who has a versatile running style, could be the main beneficiary if a pace duel materializes. In his last outing, he coasted on an easy lead in the 1 1/16-mile Steady Growth Stakes, prevailing by 3 1/4 lengths under apprentice Jill Scharfstein.

"I told [Scharfstein] that I don't ever want her to take him back," said trainer Hugo Dittfach. "You just have to be quiet on him, and when he wants to go, he'll give you what he's got."

Australian import Tic Tac Man, an easy front-running winner in both of his local starts, was scratched from a second-level allowance on Friday to run in the Bold Venture, which drew a field of 10.