07/20/2005 11:00PM

Key West Breeze can join elite list


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Colin Stakes has a storied history. A six-furlong event, it has been won by such outstanding runners as Deputy Minister, Sunny's Halo, La Prevoyante, and Kennedy Road. Last year's winner, Wholelottabourbon, was voted Canadian champion 2-year-old.

Kentucky shipper Key West Breeze will likely be favored in this year's Colin, a $135,250 race to be run Saturday at Woodbine. Trained by Patrick Byrne, Key West Breeze finished a close second after a wide trip in his debut at Churchill Downs, where he most recently captured a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special with ease, earning a 72 Beyer Speed Figure under Pat Day.

"The first time he ran, Pat Day said he was a little green, but he

really liked him," said Byrne. "His second race was pretty impressive to watch. He broke sharply and sat slightly off the pace. When Pat chirped to him, he took off."

Byrne said he believes Key West Breeze could be more comfortable over longer distances.

"Pat Day thinks he can run long, so we'll stretch him out as time goes on," Byrne said. "I thought this race was a nice fit, time-wise."

Byrne said Day wanted to come for the mount but had other commitments, so Byrne has enlisted Todd Kabel, with whom he has teamed to win three Woodbine stakes.

Key West Breeze, a Kentucky-bred by Hennessy, hails from a Canadian family. His dam is a half-sister to 2001 Ontario Lassie winner What a Breeze, and his second dam is 1992 Canadian Oaks winner Hope for a Breeze.

Among the others entered in the Colin is Top Authority, who in his only start beat Louie Nekia in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race and earned a 70 Beyer.

Trainer Mark Casse said Top Authority lived up to expectations in his debut.

"He's a big, strong horse who looks like a 3-year-old, and we liked him a lot going into his race," Casse said. "As it turns out, I think it wasn't a bad race. Louie Nekia came back and won, and the horse who was fourth [Moon Worship] also came back and won and was second in a stake."

Casse said he believes Top Authority is typical of many offspring of his California sire, Old Topper.

"He's kind of a funny horse," he said. "He's like a lot of the Old Toppers - they train okay, but they don't train great. They show more in the afternoon."