10/18/2006 11:00PM

Go Deputy pegged as International choice


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - A contentious field of 10 has been entered for Sunday's Grade 1, $2 million Canadian International, the 1 1/2-mile turf race that is the richest on the Woodbine stakes calendar.

Sunday's blockbuster card also will include the Grade 1, $1 million E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for fillies and mares, and the Grade 2, $500,000 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and upward.

But the Canadian International is the piece de resistance, as underlined by its special status at the ceremonial draw for post positions here Thursday.

U.S.-based Relaxed Gesture and Meteor Storm, the returning one-two finishers from last year's Canadian International, are in the lineup.

So are Blue Monday, Kastoria, Collier Hill, and The Last Drop, four qualified invaders from Europe, as well as the talented locally based horses Sky Conqueror, Jambalaya, and Last Answer.

But the horse to beat could be Go Deputy, trained by Todd Pletcher, who won Saratoga's Grade 1 Sword Dancer in his last start.

Go Deputy, who will be ridden by John Velazquez, has been established as the 5-2 morning-line choice by Woodbine's oddsmaker, Jennifer Morrison, and will start from post 7.

Sky Conqueror has been made the 4-1 second choice. A winner of his last three starts, including Woodbine's Grade 2 Northern Dancer and King Edward, Sky Conqueror drew the 1 hole and will have regular rider Todd Kabel in the irons.

"I think it's perfect," said trainer Darwin Banach of Sky Conqueror's post. "We're going to be able to save all kinds of ground and get covered up nicely.

"Then, Todd can make one big run."

Kastoria, a 5-year-old mare trained by John Oxx, also is going for her fourth straight score, with her latest coming in the Grade 1 Irish St. Leger over 1 3/4 miles.

Regular rider Mick Kinane will be here to partner Kastoria, who is the 9-2 third choice and will break from post 2.

Blue Monday, winner of the Group 3 Arc Trial at Longchamp on Sept. 15 in his last start, has been listed at 6-1 and drew post 3.

"It looks like a good draw," said Blue Monday's trainer, Roger Charlton. "He's a difficult horse to predict - sometimes he starts well, sometimes he doesn't.

"He's won races from the front, and he's won races coming from behind but, ideally, he'll sit just off it."

Relaxed Gesture, to be ridden by Garrett Gomez, will open at 10-1 and drew the outside post. Although he is winless in five starts this year, Relaxed Gesture should get the soft going that he prefers here on Sunday He is trained by Christophe Clement.

Meteor Storm, trained by Wally Dollase, has been pegged at 12-1 and will start from post 6 under Javier Castellano.

After undergoing ankle surgery this past winter, Meteor Storm made his first start in more than nine months on Sept. 30 in Belmont's Kelso and was a closing fourth in that one-mile turf race.