11/20/2009 1:00AM

El Brujo makes his bid for sprint title

Photos By Z/Keeneland
El Brujo, winning the Perryville under Edgar Prado, faces older horses for the first time in Saturday's Kennedy Road.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Canadian champion sprinter honors could be on the line Saturday at Woodbine, when El Brujo clashes with Field Commission over six furlongs in the Grade 3, $150,000 Kennedy Road Stakes.

The 3-year-old El Brujo is meeting older opposition for the first time, off back-to-back scores in Grade 3 stakes in Kentucky. He got a daring off-the-pace ride from Garrett Gomez in the six-furlong Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway, saving ground before being angled wide for the drive en route to a half-length win.

"Down the backside, I was wondering what [Gomez] was doing," said trainer Malcolm Pierce. "At the wire, I thought it was as good a ride as the horse had ever gotten. It's funny how, in half-a-mile, you can totally change your opinion of a ride."

El Brujo won the seven-furlong Perryville Stakes at Keeneland in his last race. He received a stalking trip under Edgar Prado.

"Prado also gave him a good ride," Pierce said. "He saved all the ground, and put him in a position to win."

Pierce said he believes another victory would be enough to ice the Sovereign Award for El Brujo, the 123-pound highweight in the 10-horse field.

"If he could beat those horses on Saturday, I think it would put him in the driver's seat for champion sprinter," he said.

Field Commission won his first stakes in the Grade 3 Vigil over seven furlongs on the Polytrack in May. He was a troubled second in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes on turf Aug. 29, then sixth in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.

Field Commission rallied stoutly from nearly five lengths back to beat a solid field in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes on the grass Oct. 17, earning a 101 Beyer Figure.

Among the others entered are Bogue Chitto and a trio of Sid Attard-trained runners - Jungle Wave, Signature Red, and Smokey Fire.

Bogue Chitto is arguably the most improved runner during the Woodbine meet. He commenced his campaign with a win against $32,000 maidens, and then went through his allowance conditions before ending up second in both the King Corrie Stakes on Polytrack and the Nearctic.

"He ran his eyeballs out in the Nearctic," said trainer Ian Howard. "That was a tough field. I couldn't have asked him to run any better."