09/13/2001 11:00PM

Gus Again tries again in Speers

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Some of the best horses at Assiniboia Downs will square off Sunday in the $27,500 R.J. Speers Stakes when Gus Again, the top older Manitoba-bred in training, faces Kalfaari and Smoky Cinder. A field of six has been entered in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3- year-olds and upward.

Gus Again finished fourth in the Aug. 6 Wheat City in his first attempt against Kalfaari and Smoky Cinder in what is the only blemish on an otherwise perfect 2001 campaign.

In his most recent start, Gus Again defeated older Manitoba-breds in the Agassiz. That race may provide him with a fitness edge over both Kalfaari and Smoky Cinder, who have not raced since the Wheat City. Anderson Ward has rides Gus Again for trainer Harry Kube.

Kalfaari won his fourth race from six starts this year - and his first stakes - in the Wheat City. Owned and trained by Clint Willson, Kalfaari has worked five times since that race, the most recent being a six-furlong move in 1:13.40 here Sept. 6.

After getting caught behind a slow pace in the Wheat City, Smoky Cinder rallied late to finish third, a half-length behind Kalfaari.

Smoky Cinder has worked three times since the Wheat City, including a five-furlong drill of 1:03.60 here Sept. 10.