08/28/2008 12:00AM

Gallant Son and Zagreus go again


AUBURN, Wash. - Gallant Son and Zagreus, who staged a memorable stretch duel in last month's Premio Esmeralda at six furlongs, will head a field of eight 2-year-olds in Saturday's $50,000 WTBA Lads Stakes at a mile.

Gallant Son prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the July 19 Premio Esmeralda, getting the distance in 1:10.40 under Leslie Mawing for his second score from three starts. Gallant Son, a Malabar Gold colt trained by Frank Lucarelli, has not raced since that outing, but he posted three solid workouts in August and Lucarelli feels he is ready to deliver his best effort.

Zagreus, a half-brother to sprint stakes winners Marva Jean and Melba Jewel by the good sprinter Yonaguska, got second in the Premio Esmeralda despite being forced to take up at the seven-

sixteenths pole and getting blocked approaching the stretch. He has run since that race, defeating maiden special weight runners on Aug. 9 by a length and covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.20. He will have to outlast his pedigree to prevail at a mile, but trainer Tom Wenzel is optimistic on that count.

"He is a horse who has already learned to relax off the pace, and in that respect he is pretty much the opposite of Marva Jean," said Wenzel. "She was basically a front-end speed horse throughout her career. He also has some length to his back and to his stride, which is encouraging, and he has been finishing very well in his sprints. There is no question he is bred to sprint on both sides of his pedigree, but the pedigree doesn't always tell the whole story. I think he has as much talent as anybody in the division, and it will be interesting to find out how far he can go."

Snake Attack, who ran third after setting a brisk pace in the Premio Esmeralda, again figures as the one to catch. Snake Attack, a son of You and I trained by Tim McCanna, won his debut by more than eight lengths over $20,000 maidens in June before finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Gallant Son. He has not raced since, but he worked seven furlongs in 1:27.80 on Monday and should be fit enough if he is good enough.

Another possibility is Dress Code, a son of Doneraile Court trained by Steve Bullock. Though still a maiden after four sprint outings, Dress Code has never finished worse than fourth while appearing to need more ground.