11/17/2009 12:00AM

Claimers with some back class


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - River Heights and Palmers, two win-shy runners with a touch of class, are among a nine-horse field in Thursday's seventh race at Woodbine, a seven-furlong sprint for $40,000 nonwinners-of-three claimers.

River Heights, a 6-year-old trained by Paul Attard, has been known for hanging tendencies, but he found the mark Aug. 30 in a $40,000 conditioned claimer on the grass, his preferred surface.

River Heights wound up fifth in his next-to-last outing in a $40,000 route that was taken off the turf and run on the Polytrack. Most recently he rallied mildly for third behind the tough duo of Jimmy Simms and Just Rushing in the slow-paced Labeeb Stakes on turf.

Chantal Sutherland retains the mount on River Heights, who finished third in last year's Halton Stakes and was also second in the Cup and Saucer Stakes at 2.

Palmers finished fifth in two legs of the 2008 Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen's Plate and the Breeders' Stakes, which sandwiched a narrow loss in allowance company.

Palmers finally cleared his first allowance condition last June. He was claimed from trainer Mark Casse in his next start for $40,000 by trainer Norm McKnight, who sent him out to finish eighth and fourth in his two September appearances.

Palmers was a prominent second last time out in a 1 1/16-mile route at this level.

Vegas Weekend is a viable alternative to River Heights and Palmers, although he hasn't won this year. The first half of his campaign was disappointing, but he began to turn the corner when third in a $50,000 claimer for 3-year-olds in August.

Vegas Weekend checked in third in a turf sprint Sept. 6. A month later, he earned a career-high 83 Beyer Figure when second to a sharp Counter Move in a fast $50,000 claimer. He has worked twice since his last start, which was a fifth-place finish against older $50,000 opposition.

Stolonboy faded to third behind the dropping Tycoon Doby and Palmers after setting slow early fractions going long Oct. 25. A hot Eurico da Silva inherits the mount from apprentice Caroline Duquet.

Frobisher Bay has been idle since his victory over $40,000 nonwinners-of-two types Aug. 12.