02/03/2007 12:00AM

Giant Wrecker pays $34 in Canadian


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Giant Wrecker, whose best previous finish in a stakes race was a third in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Handicap, pulled off a major upset by defeating Breeders' Cup Mile and Eclipse Award winner Miesque's Approval and five other grass specialists in Saturday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Giant Wrecker led nearly every step under a well-judged ride by Javier Castellano, withstanding a final surge from Host to register a head decision in the 1 1/16-mile Canadian Turf. Miesque's Approval, the 1-2 favorite, dropped far back during the early stages of the Grade 3 race and never threatened the leaders while rallying belatedly to finish fifth, nearly three lengths behind the winner.

Giant Wrecker, a 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, was a bit rank early on while setting fractions of 23.39 seconds, 46.54, and 1:10.16 with Jet Propulsion in close pursuit. Giant Wrecker repulsed a challenge from Jambalaya entering the stretch before narrowly outlasting Host.

Miesque's Approval immediately dropped to the rear of the field, lagged more than a dozen lengths off the early leader, angled wide into the stretch, and could offer only a mild response in his first start since winning the BC Mile on Nov. 4.

"His behavior was a little funny," said Marty Wolfson, who trains Miesque's Approval. "They had trouble getting him into the gate. I didn't expect him to be that far back. When he does that he kind of loses interest. He came back good. He wasn't tired. The plan still calls from him to make his next start in Dubai."

Giant Wrecker, a homebred trained by Mark Hennig for owner Edward P. Evans, paid $34.20 after covering the distance in 1:39.70 over a firm course.

"He was a different horse in the paddock today than before his last race when he was all wound up and wringing wet," said Hennig. "He's a little high-strung, like most of the family, who all seemed to get better with age.

"I was hoping Javier might be able to get him covered up early so he'd relax, but I told him if he went to the lead not to grab and anchor him, because you can't win that battle, and he did a great job."