05/07/2002 11:00PM

Exclusive Run lowers sights


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Exclusive Run, a nominee to Saturday's Grade 3 Eclipse Handicap, will run instead in Friday's ninth race at Woodbine, a $75,300 allowance.

An accomplished group of seven older runners has been assembled for the seven-furlong dash, which is for nonwinners of $45,180 other than maiden or claiming in 2002.

Exclusive Run, claimed for a hefty $80,000 in October by trainer Mike Wright Jr. on behalf of Fleethouse Stable, has earned back a good portion of his purchase price. He hit the board in his two November races here, both in allowance company, and then spent the winter in Maryland.

Exclusive Run was a distant fourth behind victorious Private Ryan in his first Laurel appearance, Jan. 21 in the Native Dancer Handicap. He benefited from a slow pace when he ran the race of his life just 11 days later, winning a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer by a neck and earning a whopping 110 Beyer Speed Figure.

Exclusive Run has competed just once in the interim, in the allowance prep for the Eclipse here April 27. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race, he pressed the pace until the eighth pole before weakening, and finished 1 1/2 lengths back in third.

Exclusive Run has hit the board in all three of his starts at seven furlongs, and shouldn't mind shortening up in distance on Friday.

Steven Bahen retains the mount on 8-year-old Exclusive Run, a 16-time winner with career earnings of $464,628.

Completing the ninth-race lineup are Runaway Love, Geraint, Grand End Sweep, Highland Legacy, Ice Water, and Regal Sahib.

Runaway Love beat Exclusive Run while taking a seven-furlong allowance last November. A son of Regal Classic, Runaway Love usually does his best running in the fall, but could be a speed threat in this spot.

Abraham Katryan trains Runaway Love, who captured the restricted Deputy Minister Stakes in 2000.

Geraint comes off an excellent third-place finish behind favored Wake at Noon and Exciting Story in his 2002 debut in the Grade 3 Vigil Handicap. He won his first two outings here in 2001 while hanging up some big Beyers, and should be primed for another strong showing. He is trained by Catherine Day-Phillips.

Ice Water got a long overdue win in his first start of the meet, in an $80,000 optional claimer on April 20.

Highland Legacy, Canada's champion 2-year-old in 2000, struggled during a limited campaign last year, and is returning from a layoff.

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