03/21/2008 12:00AM

Hot Talk looks to be out front

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CALGARY, Alberta - It will be an interesting run to the first turn in Sunday's featured seventh race, a $40,000 optional claimer that drew a full field of 10 older horses, including the rapid but erratic Hot Talk.

The good news is that there is a long run out of the chute to the turn in the half-milers over this course, but the bad news is that this field is loaded with speed, ensuring a duel into that turn. Hot Talk is sure to be involved in that duel.

Hot Talk, a 7-year-old gelding, has won just four races in his career, but has been responsible for some memorable dashes while running against the fastest sprinters on this circuit.

Hot Talk drew post 6 in the race, which carries an attractive $20,200 purse. His tendency to bear out on the sharp turns of this five-furlong oval will undoubtedly have the riders drawn to his outside on their toes.

Perry Winters is assigned the job of steering Hot Talk straight and will undoubtedly be pressured by the likes of Smokem Ninetynine, who will break from post 2 under Ron Blinston; Bling, who was stakes placed last year at 3 and has Shannon Beauregard up; and Fortynine Express who brings along some serious Woodbine speed for his Alberta debut.

Smokem Ninetynine has two wins, both going short, and won his 2007 debut here last spring. Bling, who will break from post 8, finished third behind Smokem Ninetynine while also making his seasonal bow in that four-furlong race last year.