06/27/2001 11:00PM

Exciting Story, Prime Timber on card


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Eight 2-year-olds will line up in Saturday's Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine, but trainer Mark Casse will provide much of the fireworks on the card when he runs Exciting Story in the fourth race and Prime Timber in the fifth.

Exciting Story, who makes his second start on turf in a classified allowance, is making his first start since he pulled off a big upset in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont May 28. Sent off as the longest shot on the board (56-1), Exciting Story rallied inside over a muddy track to prevail by three-quarters of a length over Peeping Tom.

Exciting Story captured the Sovereign Award as champion

2-year-old in 1999, but severed a tendon sheath when he was stepped on in his final start that year. He was absent for nine months before returning in an optional claimer on the grass

last July 8, where he finished 3 1/2 lengths back in fifth.

"His only grass race came in his first start after his injury," Casse said. "He was a 3-year-old coming off a nine-month layoff, and I had to run him against older horses because he didn't really have any conditions. He ran a creditable race."

Casse said that Exciting Story's full sister Diablo's Story won the Natalma Stakes on the turf. "She was much better on the grass," he said.

If Exciting Story excels on the grass, it would give Casse many more options for him, such as the Mile at the World Thoroughbred Championships and the Grade 1 Atto Mile here Sept. 9. Saturday's start would make him eligible for a Sovereign Award, and he is a serious candidate for Canada's Horse of the Year honors.

Facing off against Exciting Story in the one-mile race are 1999 Canadian Horse of the Year Thornfield, along with Red Scare, Val de Dash, Cracker's Folly, and Geraint.

Prime Timber is returning from a 10-month layoff in his debut for Casse in a $100,000 optional claimer going seven furlongs on the grass.

Prime Timber, fourth in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, was purchased from Aaron Jones as a stallion prospect after he ran sixth in the Grade 2 Del Mar BC Handicap Sept. 3.

The Sam-Son Farm entry of Ford Every Stream and Wild Sunset, a pair of well-bred first-time starters, should garner lots of support in the $149,175 Clarendon, a 5 1/2-furlong dash for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds.

Completing the Clarendon field are Lorenzo's Pride, Shaw's Creek, Cool Rain Falling, Timeless Deed, Molly's Wisdom, and Feelitfirst.

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