07/26/2007 12:00AM

Extreme Day lifts exotic betting to new level


If imitation is indeed the most sincere form of flattery, then last Sunday's Extreme Day at Canterbury Park speaks volumes for the management at Calder Race Course, which invented the concept and hosted the initial Extreme Day card last year.

Calder will add a few new wrinkles when it brings back Extreme Day on Saturday. Among the highlights on the 14-race card will be the King George's Wrong Way Stakes, the two-furlong Rocket Man Stakes, the two-mile Turf Marathon Handicap, and the piece de resistance, the World's Fastest Daily Double, which consists of two races run simultaneously, one on the turf course and the other on the main track.

"We're very excited about bringing back this unique day of racing," said Calder president Ken Dunn. "The goal of Extreme Day is to do something a little different and a little creative to capture the attention of fans in our marketplace and around the country while also giving them a new variety of betting options."

The $50,000 King George will be run clockwise at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, weather permitting, and drew a field of 10, including two also-eligibles. The race is written under starter allowance conditions for horses that have raced for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2007. Recent allowance winners Champagne Brunch and Ho Ho Ho should vie for the top prize, along with Mean Kisser.

Joey Blueeyes, winner of the 2006 King George's Wrong Way Stakes, is looking for another big Extreme Day payoff, in the $50,000 Turf Marathon. Joey Blueeyes proved as adept racing clockwise as counterclockwise with his one-length victory in the inaugural King George. He has won once in five subsequent tries, easily winning a third-level optional claiming race over a wet track on June 15.

Golden Strategy is the class of the Turf Marathon, but remains a question mark if the race goes as scheduled on grass. The 4-year-old Golden Strategy is coming off a third-place finish behind stablemate Electrify in the nine-furlong Mecke Handicap, but has yet to run on turf in a 12-race career that began with 9 wins from his first 10 starts in Panama.

Rain Song returns to defend his title in the $50,000 Rocket Man. Trained by Scott Lake, Rain Song ran the quarter-mile race in 21 seconds for a popular victory in the 2006 Rocket Man. He returned four months later and registered an easy 3 3/4-length triumph in the two-furlong Fast N Furious Stakes.

Rain Song will face local speedballs Tricky Spirit, Sweeping Silkn and Bow Out - along with the one-time world-class sprinter Caller One, who will be competing in his fourth straight Rocket Man.

The World's Fast Daily Double will go as the third and fourth races on the card. It consists of a $25,000 claiming race at a mile on the grass and a bottom-priced conditioned claiming dash at six furlongs over the main track.

Among this year's new Extreme Day creations is the Harrison Half, which offers win and exacta betting based on the running order at the half-mile pole of the one-mile claiming race. The race also offers wagering on the final outcome of the race. For betting purposes, the Harrison Half is considered two races, the fifth and the sixth.

The Show Quinella, offers a $5 minimum bet in which the player must select two of the first three finishes in a race. The bet will also be available on the Rocket Man Stakes.

Among the other Extreme Day races are the $50,000 Methuselah Stakes, which is restricted to 5-year-olds and up, and the $50,000 Gray Pride Stakes, restricted to grays and roans.