12/07/2006 12:00AM

Fast Parade out of Hong Kong Sprint


Sunday's Hong Kong Sprint was thrown into disarray on Thursday when America's lone representative, Fast Parade, was withdrawn from the six-furlong dash just before entry time, while the status of prerace favorite Takeover Target was in doubt with the announcement that a routine urine sample taken upon his arrival in Hong Kong had produced an "irregularity."

Fast Parade's trainer, Peter Miller, said the 3-year-old gelding "isn't himself" and wasn't eating after his arduous journey from California to Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong. The withdrawl of Fast Parade, the Nearctic Stakes winner, from the Sprint leaves the United States with just a single runner in the four-race Hong Kong International Race Day card. That is Rebel Rebel, who has drawn post 3 in a 14-runner field for the Hong Kong Mile.

The controversy swirling around Takeover Target could lead to the scratching of Australia's sensational bargain-basement sprinter. While the Hong Kong Jockey Club's chief stipendary steward, Jamie Stier, declined to specify the exact nature of the "irregularity," he did say that another test would be taken before the Sprint, most likely on Saturday, the day before the race. If the problem has not resolved itself by then, Takeover Target would miss his chance to add the Sprint to his victories this year in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap in Australia, the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes in Japan, and the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes in England.

Ouija Board, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori in the 10-runner Hong Kong Vase, drew ideally in post 2, while in the 12-runner Hong Kong Cup, Pride will start from post 9, which her rider, Christophe Lemaire, declared "perfect."