06/25/2003 11:00PM

Invading Fancy Bru hard to look past in Manitoba

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Alberta shipper Fancy Bru will be heavily favored to win the restricted $35,000 Manitoba Stakes going a mile Saturday at Assiniboia.

An overflow field of 13 Manitoba-bred 3-year-olds, including six maidens, has been entered.

Fancy Bru, a gelding by Buie, is a half-brother to the best Manitoba-bred of all time, Fancy As, and he's certainly rounding into form nicely.

Trained by Gary Danelson for both himself and partners Ed and Jim Pawluk, Fancy Bru comes into the Manitoba Stakes following a one-mile allowance win at Stampede Park June 4.

Before that win he had finished fourth, beaten 11 lengths by Alberta's best 3-year-old, Taiaslew, in the one-mile Hoofprint on My Heart Handicap.

Fancy Bru appears to have both a fitness and talent edge on this field, having started five times this year in Alberta, including three races at Saturday's one-mile distance.

If an upset is in the making, it could come from Bold Lover, His Money, or Lead Hound.

Bold Lover, trained by Ardell Sayler, has faced some of the best 3-year-olds on the grounds in his two allowance starts this year, finishing second and third in sprints.

His Money, trained by Jack Robertson, has started only once this year in a maiden special weight race May 23, but he did look good in that race, wearing down a rival to win in a long drive.

Lead Hound, trained by Lorna Gray, is the longshot pick for the race. The son of Foxhound always gives his best, just as his dam Can I Lead did, and he will be coming at them late.

Rounding out the field are Wild Ruler, who won the Buffalo Stakes going a mile here last year; Cabernet, winner of the CTHS Sales Stakes last year; Heezatalknback, who has one allowance race under his girth; and maidens Akimboalogo, Pippy Dance, Jomarsmutchkin, Quick Chill, and Canadian Wrangler.

If a horse scratches out of the body of the race then Honorable Eagle, who is also a maiden, will draw in.