Updated on 09/17/2011 10:46AM

Double Time attempts to throw hat into ring

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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Double Time is poised to put forth a top effort in Friday's $5,000 Inaugural Handicap. The six-furlong Inaugural, for 3-year-olds and upward, is the first of 18 stakes on the 2003 schedule and attracted a field of five.

Double Time will try to assume the role of top older horse in the province, now vacant after Beau Ring left to set up shop at Assiniboia Downs.

Double Time, a $15,000 claim at Hastings last fall, won the prep for this race here June 7 by tracking the early leader until the top of the backstretch. He went on to a three-quarter-length victory. That winning margin could have been much greater had Double Time not drifted wide on the final turn.

Double Time also blew the turn in his first race of the meeting, a half-mile sprint where he ran seventh, and will have to be sharper to fend off Rouge Royale on Friday. Rennie Latchman rides for leading trainer Don Bjarnarson.

Rouge Royale, now 8 years old, was the dominant 3-year old and older horse on the grounds earlier in his career. In 2002 Rouge Royale won 2 of 6 starts, including a $20,000 claimer in Winnipeg.

Rouge Royale generally prefers a mile or more. He benefited from Double Time's adventure on the turn last time to close the gap from four lengths at the quarter pole. Serge Rocheleau rides on Friday.

Max Factor won the half-mile meet allowance opener before finishing sixth in the June 7 prep, beaten 8 1/4 lengths.

Good Old Sprite, one of the top 3-year-olds in the province last year, was a closing third last time out. He made up six lengths from the half-mile marker to finish 3 1/4 lengths behind Double Time.