05/24/2002 12:00AM

Keeneland crowd in Woodbine turf route


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Lucky Scarab, Funny Soldier, and Native Mark, all exiting allowance races on the grass at Keeneland, could rule the roost in Sunday's Woodbine feature, a 1 1/16-mile preliminary allowance on turf.

Lucky Scarab, trained by Mark Frostad for the powerful Sam-Son Farm, will be favored to garner the winner's share of the $69,900 purse. A 4-year-old by recently deceased sire Kris S., Lucky Scarab finished fifth as part of an entry with victorious Dancethruthedawn in the 2001 Queen's Plate.

Lucky Scarab made just one other start last year after the June 24 Plate, finishing fifth as the favorite in a 1 3/8-mile allowance in July. He resurfaced at the Fair Grounds on March 25, finishing a neck back in second in a turf allowance while getting an excellent Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

Most recently going 1 1/8 miles on April 11, Lucky Scarab rallied wide to record the fourth second-place finish of his nine-race career.

Funny Soldier and Native Mark, both 3-year-olds trained by David Bell, are coupled as a John Franks-owned entry.

Funny Soldier spent the winter at Gulfstream Park, where he captured an $80,000 claimer against his own age group on March 2. He made a middle move to prominence before fading to third last out on April 6, and will face older runners for the first time Sunday following a series of five-furlong workouts.

Native Mark, a son of 1994 Summer Stakes winner Native Regent, failed to find the mark during his five-race winter stint at Gulfstream and Fair Grounds. He finished sixth in a 10-horse field going 1 1/8 miles in his latest outing, but was beaten only 3 1/2 lengths.

Rounding out the field for Sunday's headliner will be Chimes Rebel, Liquid Courage, Go Figure, Black Tie Justice, Platinum Performer, Flying Commander, and Robot.

Cheap Talk will try to catch front-running Thunder Bull in the supporting feature on the card, a 6 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance.

Cheap Talk, the only 3-year-old in the group, graduated using a big stretch kick in his second start on April 21. He rallied wide to finish second most recently in a seven-furlong allowance won by rising star Forever Grand, who came back to take a $62,500 optional claimer.

Thunder Bull led throughout a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight dash on March 30 but is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish as the favorite in a two-turn allowance. He looks to be the lone front-runner in this six-horse field, and will have a decided edge if he gets away with an easy pace.

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