07/30/2002 11:00PM

Expectation hitting turf for Casse


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Davids Expectation, perhaps the hottest 3-year-old at Woodbine, will experiment on the grass on Friday in the $80,900 allowance prep for the Play the King Handicap, a Grade 3 event on Aug. 17.

Davids Expectation is coupled in the Mockingbird Farm entry with last year's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner, Exciting Story, who was entered for the main track only.

Davids Expectation displayed some promise last summer, when he finished second in the Grade 3 Cowdin at Belmont. He was slow to come around this spring, after wintering in Florida with trainer Mark Casse, but began to put it all together three starts back, when he won a six-furlong entry-level allowance in a romp.

Davids Expectation doubled up three weeks later, on June 23, when he knocked off older foes in a $62,500 optional claimer. He struck again on July 17, in another seven-furlong optional claimer, prevailing over older stakes winners Dream Launcher and Praise From Dixie and earning his third straight Beyer Speed Figure in the low 90's.

Davids Expectation hit the board in both of his grass outings early in his 2-year-old season, which included a prominent third-place finish behind future stakes winner El Soprano.

Patrick Husbands will ride Davids Expectation, who could be on an uncontested lead in this spot.

Also entered in the seven-furlong headliner on Friday were Sam Lord's Castle, Hoptuit Bud, Geraint, Frank's Selection, Academic, and Gone Fishin, who was second in the 2000 Play the King.

Frank's Selection, based at Fort Erie with trainer Robert Griem, should be a force to be dealt with. A son of Mi Selecto, Frank's Selection has a solid record over the E.P. Taylor turf course, over which he finished second twice in July. Most recently, in a seven-furlong classified allowance, Frank's Selection closed along the rail to end up a neck behind longshot Val de Dash in second. Left in his wake was the 2001 Atto Mile winner, Numerous Times.

Hoptuit Bud, an 8-year-old trained by Peter Berringer, is the most intriguing runner in the field. He was a well-beaten fourth in a minor stakes taken off the grass last Sunday, but he has won several times at big odds in recent years while running back in less than a week.

Multiple stakes winner Sam Lord's Castle didn't disgrace himself in his first turf effort, the Grade 2 Nearctic Handicap on June 23. He was sixth, beaten four lengths, in that six-furlong dash, despite being checked along the way.

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