11/27/2008 1:00AM

Distance a question


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Shut It Down and Mean Green will test their skills around two turns Saturday at Woodbine in the $125,000 Kingarvie Stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

Shut It Down graduated with ease on the front end in his third start, which came over 6 1/2 furlongs Sept. 26. The race was his second try for trainer Lorne Richards. He was subsequently bet down to 2-1 in the six-furlong Bull Page Stakes, but he faded to fourth after leading until deep stretch.

"I was shocked that he didn't win," said Richards. "I'm usually not overconfident, but going into that race I couldn't see him getting beat. I had my mouth open after the race."

Shut It Down bobbled at the break in his last race, the seven-furlong Frost King Stakes. After trailing in the eight-horse field on the backstretch, he closed stoutly in the lane to prevail by 5 1/2 lengths under Tyler Pizarro. He earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure.

Richards said he was surprised by the way Shut It Down won the Frost King.

"He drew an outside post, and we wanted to take him off the pace, because there was a fair bit of speed inside," Richards explained. "I expected him to be laying third, and I hoped that he'd get a nice stalking trip. He dropped the bit for Tyler, relaxed nicely, and when he asked him to run, he put in a good run."

Richards is optimistic that Shut It Down will handle the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Kingarvie.

"He was a bit of a hot-head, but he's settled down nicely since his last race," said Richards. "He's a good-sized horse, and he has a really nice way of moving."

Mean Green captured the seven-furlong Simcoe Stakes, for graduates of local yearling sales, before taking the Bull Page from just off the pace.

Mean Green was favored in the Nov. 8 Frost King, but he finished a flat fourth after being hard-ridden near the inside.

"I don't know if I babied him a little too much going into the race," said trainer Sid Attard. "He didn't get the best trip. He was on the rail, and he prefers the outside."

Attard said he is looking forward to running Mean Green over a route of ground.

"I really think he's going to be okay at a mile and a sixteenth," Attard said.