08/01/2004 11:00PM

Forever Grand takes drop

Email

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Multiple stakes winner Forever Grand plunges in value to face $32,000 claimers in Wednesday's first race at Woodbine.

Forever Grand was the Sovereign Award runner-up in two categories last year: older horse and sprinter. He won 4 of 10 starts in 2003, for earnings of $385,120, but what a difference a year makes.

After running fifth in his season opener, the Jacques Cartier Stakes, Forever Grand won a $62,500 claimer by 3 1/2 lengths on May 28. Trainer Bob Tiller ran him for a claiming price again June 9, in an $80,000 optional claimer, and had to be pleased when the gelding came back a winner, while getting his second straight Beyer Speed Figure in the low 90's, a 94 after his 93 on May 28.

Most recently, Forever Grand was made the 1-10 favorite in a three-horse field in the H J Addison Jr. Stakes, a restricted 1 1/16-mile event at Fort Erie. After breaking awkwardly, he dueled with front-running Domascas Consort, but couldn't get by him in the stretch and ended up seven lengths back in second, earning a Beyer Figure of 70.

Many handicappers will be in a quandary regarding what to do with Forever Grand in such an easy spot. Perhaps the presence of leading rider Todd Kabel suggests that the 5-year-old gelding still has a few good races left in him.

Among the other class-droppers entered in the six-furlong dash are Expected Touch, Prince Monty, and Stormy Lover.

Expected Touch captured 5 of 8 starts in 2003, when he was trained by Tiller. He was claimed by trainer Scott Fairlie from a win for $50,000 in his first start of the meeting, but is winless in three subsequent outings, including one on the grass.

Expected Touch is coupled with Prince Monty, who recently switched trainers, going from Fairlie to Robbie Martin.

An 8-year-old with 12 victories in 42 races, Prince Monty was second for $50,000 when he returned from an extended layoff early in the meeting. He has not run since that April 25 race, but has recorded two bullet breezes during the past month, including a five-furlong drill over the training track in 1:00.

Stormy Lover has been competitive at the first allowance category on numerous occasions, and is running for a claiming price for just the second time since he was claimed for $20,000 in November.

Coolasacat is moving up in class off perhaps his best effort, and should be a factor if he continues to improve. He received a career-best Beyer Figure of 88 in his triumph over $25,000 opposition July 22.