09/16/2010 2:47PM

Just as Well, Rahy's Attorney face softer competition at Parx


Just as Well and Rahy’s Attorney, a pair of turf specialists with Grade 1 credentials at Woodbine on their r é sum é s, could have run at the top level again this weekend in Sunday’s Woodbine Mile. But instead, both will try to rebuild their confidence against slightly softer competition in Saturday’s $250,000 Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President’s Cup at Parx Racing.

The 7-year-old Just as Well, who has faced Grade 1 competition in six of his last nine starts, and the 6-year-old Rahy’s Atttorney, Canada’s champion turf horse in 2008, head a field of seven in the 1 1/8-mile race that serves as Parx Racing’s premier event for male distance grass runners.

The Jonathan Sheppard-trained Just as Well for a time had a Grade 1 win when Marsh Side was disqualified in the 2009 Northern Dancer at Woodbine, but the stewards’ decision was overturned on appeal. He now is winless in his last nine starts, but gets class relief after finishing eighth in the Arlington Million. Saturday’s race marks the end of 14 straight appearances in graded stakes for Just as Well. The last time he raced 1 1/8 miles, Just as Well was second, beaten only a neck in the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico.

Rahy’s Attorney, winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in 2008, shows better recent form than Just as Well. He comes off a victory in the listed With Approval Stakes at Woodbine, a nine-furlong race in which he came home the last three furlongs in an excellent 34.89 seconds. He has won each of the last two times he has run against non-graded stakes company.

The field’s third class-dropper is the former European runner Violon Sacre, who has been off since missing by a neck in the Grade 3 Oceanport at Monmouth Park on Aug. 1. In his three starts this year since coming over from France, Violon Sacre has been ultra-consistent, posting Beyer Speed Figures in the narrow range of 94 to 96, including a victory in the one-mile Battlefield at Monmouth. His Beyers compare favorably to the 92 Rahy’s Attorney earned for his most recent outing and the 97 Just as Well got for his best recent race, a third in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap.

None of the other four runners appears a serious threat to win. War Hoot makes his stakes debut after failing to break 90 on the Beyer scale in five starts this year; Pick Six is 0 for 9 this season; Sudden War has made 6 of his 9 lifetime starts going 1 1/2 miles; and Polka Night steps way up in class after competing in a series of starter allowance races.