04/19/2007 11:00PM

If I'm Spared has recency advantage


CALGARY, Alberta - If I'm Spared drew the rail and faces eight rivals in Sunday's six-furlong feature, an optional $40,000 claimer at Stampede Park. The $22,000 race came up very tough, with five nominees to the April 28 Stampede Park Sprint Championship in the lineup.

If I'm Spared, a 6-year-old gelding, moves up off a visually impressive score over $30,000 company on April 4. He worked back strongly for trainer Doug MacDonald and has a form edge on his foes, six of whom are making their seasonal debuts.

Stephan Heiler replaces Rickey Walcott in the irons.

Walcott will ride Test Boy, who arrives dead fit from a winter campaign at Fair Grounds. Although his form indicates he may better at a mile and up, Test Box, a $50,000 claim, did win his maiden sprinting.

Blowin in the Wind and Beau Brass also would appear to want a mile or more but have shown they can close and win sprinting under the right circumstances.

Blowin in the Wind drew post 2 with Quincy Welch up and has put up a solid string of works for trainer Dale Greenwood. Beau Brass drew post 7 with Jake Barton up.

Beau Brass won a similar allowance at six furlongs here last June for his only victory of the season, and went on to test stakes company for the rest of the year, losing three times to eventual Alberta horse of the year True Metropolitan.

Fly Esteem, upset winner of the 2004 Alberta Derby, inherits the task of challenging If I'm Spared for the early lead as the only other legitimate speed in the field.