05/22/2003 12:00AM

Kalfaari makes 2003 bow


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Kalfaari, last year's champion older horse at Assiniboia, is expected to pick up where he left off when seven of the best older horses on the grounds meet at 5 1/2 furlongs in the $16,000 allowance feature here Saturday.

Owned and trained by Clint Willson, Kalfaari was 4 for 4 here last year, with victories in the G. Sydney Halter, Free Press, and Wheat City before being sidelined by an injury in mid-August.

A 6-year-old B.C.-bred gelding, Kalfaari has a lifetime record of 10-3-0 from 15 starts and earnings of $116,160, and he is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the race.

Kalfaari recently shipped here from Fort Erie, and he loves the Assiniboia oval. Rohan Singh, who rode Kalfaari to all of his victories last year, will be aboard.

This race will be Kalfaari's prep for the six-furlong $35,000 Free Press Stakes on June 15. He won his first start last year by open lengths in rapid fashion, and a similar effort is expected Saturday.

Wondrous Zeal, owned and trained by Bill Smith, could be the upsetter. He won his local debut in an $18,700 allowance race on May 4 going five furlongs and will try to wire the field again.

Deputy Country, a 5-year-old son of Silver Deputy trained by Carl Anderson, drew the rail and may have enough speed to hold that path throughout.

Having started only seven times, Deputy Country is still learning, but he is a gorgeous-looking animal with potential.

Suntana, a 2-year-old champion locally, makes his 2003 debut for owner Bonnie Larson and trainer Blair Miller. This race is about as tough a spot as there is locally for a young 3-year-old, but it was the only prep Suntana could get for the June 7, $35,000 Golden Boy Stakes.

Rounding out the field are Kenyawin, the 2002 Free Press Handicap runner-up; Beau Ring, the 2001 Gold Cup winner; and U Otabe Wild.