06/05/2009 12:00AM

Few challengers for favored Awesome Rhythm

Michael Burns
Awesome Rhythm, a winner of two straight stakes, has just four rivals in the Victoria Park.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Awesome Rhythm will try to complete a sweep of the three open route stakes for 3-year-olds this spring at Woodbine in Sunday's $150,000 Victoria Park.

Carded as race 3 on the Woodbine Oaks card, the nine-furlong race drew just five runners, and it will not be part of either the pick four or the pick six.

Awesome Rhythm won his maiden on a freezing cold afternoon on the final day of the 2008 Woodbine meet. Trainer John Ross took him to Florida for the winter, and sent him out to finish a distant sixth behind Theregoesjojo and Quality Road in a Jan. 10 allowance at Gulfstream.

Awesome Rhythm was a troubled eighth in his next appearance, the $150,000 OBS Championship Stakes at the Ocala Training Center.

"He got cut right off on the first turn," Ross said. "Alan Garcia checked him, and had to take him back to last. He picked up a couple of horses, but it's a very speed-oriented track."

Awesome Rhythm ran very similar races here in the Wando Stakes on April 25, and in the Marine Stakes on May 16. He rallied wide from off slow fractions to win both of those 1 1/16-mile events by daylight under Jim McAleney.

Ross said Awesome Rhythm blossomed over the winter.

"He really developed," Ross said. "He's bigger and stronger. He's just getting better all time."

On June 1, Awesome Rhythm breezed a half-mile in 47.40 seconds on the Polytrack, the fastest of 41 works at the distance.

"He had a great work the other day," said Ross. "Jimmy said he feels as good as ever. He was just hanging onto him."

Life Goes On started seven times in Southern California for trainer Bob Baffert before being shipped here to trainer Josie Carroll.

Life Goes On ran second in three consecutive maiden specials at Santa Anita before graduating over a mile with an 86 Beyer Speed Figure on March 19. In his first attempt against winners April 26 at Hollywood, he finished a close third in an optional claimer.

Life Goes On has worked three times here on the Polytrack leading up to the Victoria Park, and Patrick Husbands will ride him.

Trainer Danny Vella entered Counter Move and Kennisis River.

Counter Move earned a 90 Beyer while romping in an optional claimer on Aqueduct's inner track in March. He raced wide over an inside-biased track when sixth in his local debut.