10/08/2008 11:00PM

Contango potent, but so is El Brujo


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Contango and stakes-placed El Brujo are the obvious protagonists in Friday’s Woodbine feature, a six-furlong first-level allowance for 2-year-olds.

When he debuted Aug. 22, Contango was a belated third to Bear It’s True, who romped in his next start in an allowance at Presque Isle Downs.

Contango added Lasix for his second start and wound up setting moderate fractions before pulling away for a 7 3/4-length win over Monty’s Best, who came back to graduate with ease. Contango’s six-furlong time of 1:10.40 translated into a 76 Beyer Speed Figure.

Emile Ramsammy will ride Contango on Friday for trainer Joe Walls, who has worked the son of El Corredor a half-mile twice since his maiden victory.

El Brujo won his debut going 4 1/2 furlongs in June, then finished a close second in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon Stakes. He suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the six-furlong Vandal Stakes in August, losing by a neck after a wide journey.

Last time, in his first attempt against open stakes company in the Swynford, El Brujo was a stalking-trip third behind race winner Mine That Bird, who subsequently won his third straight stakes in the Grade 3 Grey.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce will give Emma-Jayne Wilson a leg up on El Brujo, who has been running Beyers in the mid-70s.

The Reade Baker-trained entry of Lord of Greatness and Bear’s Rocket both possess speed.

Lord of Greatness wired the field in a six-furlong maiden special in his first start in August. Most recently, in the seven-furlong Swynford, he pressed a slow pace along the rail before fading to finish a well-beaten sixth.

Baker takes the blinkers off Lord of Greatness, and his new go-to rider, Eurico Rosa da Silva, will break the colt from post 1.

Bear’s Rocket graduated at second asking on the front end in July, and earned a 76 Beyer. He faded to third after leading into the stretch in the July 19 Colin Stakes, and was never in the hunt after breaking awkwardly last time over yielding turf in an allowance prep for the Summer Stakes.

Kennisis River rallied wide from six lengths behind to defeat $32,000 maidens in his five-furlong opener. He subsequently finished third in a slow 6 1/2-furlong allowance.

Saddle Creek is stepping up off the $32,000 claim and a first-out tally in which he led most of the way after breaking slowly.