05/09/2002 12:00AM

Corporate Shuffle to be tested by best


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Three of the best horses at Assiniboia Downs make their 2002 debuts in Saturday's featured seventh race.

Two-time defending local horse of the year Corporate Shuffle faces older horse for the first time in the five-furlong allowance, which attracted a field of eight.

A 4-year-old son of Diablo, Corporate Shuffle makes his first start for trainer Clayton Gray and will be ridden by Manuel Alicea for the first time. A winner in eight of 11 lifetime starts, Corporate Shuffle breaks from the rail as the 122-pound highweight.

The main competition to Corporate Shuffle should come from Smoky Cinder and Kalfaari, the top two older horses here last year.

Trained by Gary Danelson, Smoky Cinder went on to win two stakes last year after taking a five-furlong allowance race in his 2001 debut. Tim Gardiner will be aboard Smoky Cinder, who breaks from the outside.

Coupled with Smoky Cinder and making his first start for Danelson is Formal Meeting. A winner of two claiming races at the Turf Paradise meet, Formal Meeting hasn't sprinted for a long time, and Danelson may be using Saturday's dash as a tightener.

Kalfaari, a winner of four races here last year, including one stakes, will be ridden by Rohan Singh for the first time.

Kalfaari, trained by Clint Wilson, has the best work tab of the horses coming into the race off layoffs, having posted five-furlong drills of 1:01.80 May 7 and 1:01.40 April 29.

Both A Perfect Hit and Burlington House may have a fitness edge over their opponents, having started at Stampede Park this spring.

A Perfect Hit managed a third-place finish from two tries against allowance and optional claiming company. Robert Skelly will ride.

Burlington House won one of two starts, both against claimers. A seven-time winner in 2001, Burlington House will be ridden by Anderson Ward.

Rounding out the field are Pop and Latter Day Ace.