06/04/2003 11:00PM

Cool Bender leads Alberta invaders

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Alberta shippers will try to assert their dominance once again here in a stakes Saturday when three of them take on four locals and a Saskatchewan invader in the $35,000 Golden Boy for 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

Cool Bender, owned by Abe Brewster and trained by Barry Brown, is the morning-line favorite at 2-1 for the first stakes of the meeting. A King's Nest gelding, Cool Bender is loaded with speed and takes a class drop after finishing a distant third and then fourth to Alberta's dominant 3-year-old, Taiaslew, in the Hoofprint on My Heart and President's handicaps at Stampede Park. Prior to those defeats, Cool Bender had wired two solid allowance races at Stampede this spring.

Cool Bender loves to be on the lead and will have to overcome his outside post, but on paper he appears to have the class to do so. He does have other speed to deal with in the race in the form of local hopefuls Suntana, owned by Bonnie Lawson and trained by Blair Miller; Chase Creek, owned and trained by Sid Martin; and second choice Sand Rush, owned by K-5 Stable and trained by Keith Corbel. Alberta shipper New Media appears to be the dominant closer in the field, and he shipped here last year to dust the locals in the Graduation Stakes. In New Media's only start this year, he finished a distant third to Cool Bender in a six-furlong allowance race at Stampede Park.

Bedford Road, trained by Randy Hedegaard, arrives undefeated from Lethbridge after dominating his "B" track rivals in his only two lifetime starts. He will get a severe test of class with this bunch, as will Extended Credit, who ships in from Saskatchewan off a second-place finish in an allowance race at Marquis Downs for trainer Dalyce Holm.

Rounding out the field is Sovereign Creek, trained by leading trainer Ardell Sayler. A proven rallier who is coming into this race off a workmanlike allowance win, Sovereign Creek may be overlooked in a field loaded with speed.