07/29/2007 11:00PM

Head Chopper on brink of a victory


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Head Chopper is about due for a trip to the winner's circle, and should be prominent in Wednesday's Woodbine feature, a 1 1/16-mile allowance for non-winners of three.

Head Chopper had a productive 2006 season, winning 2 of 11 starts and $214,328. The highlight was a nose loss to Halo Steven in the Gradeo3 British Columbia Derby at Hastings.

Head Chopper has run three solid races from four starts over Woodbine's Polytrack. Three weeks prior to the Sept. 24 B.C. Derby, he was second to Barbeau Ruckus in the restricted Elgin Stakes.

In both of his outings this year, he finished second in $62,500 allowance and optional claiming company, while receiving an 86 Beyer Speed Figure. Most recently, he was 2 1/2 lengths behind a sharp Bold Finish, who was coming off a second-place finish in the Steady Growth Stakes.

Patrick Husbands, who was aboard for both of Head Chopper's wins in June 2006, has the mount.

Other possibilities in the six-horse field include Bureaucratic, Artie Hot, and Thinking Out Loud.

Bureaucratic was second to Maryland shipper Marsh Side on Dec. 10 in the 1 3/4-mile Valedictory Stakes, leaving champion True Metropolitan behind in third. He finished second in a Jan. 19 optional claimer over a sloppy track at the Fair Grounds, but has missed the board in three subsequent starts.

Bureaucratic was four lengths in arrears when fifth after a wide trip in Head Chopper's last race. He breezed a bullet five-eighths in 1:01.20 the other day, and could be poised for a peak effort.

Artie Hot, a $30,000 claim last winter at Gulfstream by trainer Nick Gonzalaz, faced 3-year-olds in each of his three most recent appearances, all in stakes.

Artie Hot ran evenly when fourth in the Grade 3 Marine on the Polytrack, then wound up third in the Charlie Barley on turf. Last time, in the nine-furlong Toronto Cup on the grass, he made a premature wide bid on the far turn, and then hit the front early in the stretch before fading to fourth.

Thinking Out Loud is winless since his win in the 2005 Coronation Futurity, but showed signs of life two races back, finishing third in an optional claimer on the grass.