05/08/2002 11:00PM

Last year's top juvenile looks good


CALGARY, Alberta - Dance Me Free, champion of his division in Alberta last year and an impressive winner in his seasonal bow here at Stampede Park on April 27, heads a field of nine colts and geldings in Saturday's 34th running of the President's Handicap.

Dance Me Free, winner of three stakes in 2001 on his way to unanimous selection as top juvenile male, prevailed by a length over Sweet Drummer in the major prep for this $40,000 feature despite being in tight quarters at the quarter pole.

Rider Stephan Heiler found room entering the final turn in that six-furlong race, and Dance Me Free responded with a strong run down the lane.

The gelding is the highweight at 119 pounds and drew post 7 in the six-furlong President's, which is the first stakes engagement for 3-year-olds embarking on the trail to the June 15 Alberta Derby.

Sweet Drummer was game in defeat after leading to the eighth pole under Real Simard and drew post 4 for the rematch. He won a pair of sprints last year in front-running style, and a similar strategy is envisioned in this spot.

Intact, second in his Alberta debut May 1, is eligible to improve off that effort. The gelding was squeezed at the break and was forced three-wide turning for home but despite the troubled trip he was traveling well at the wire and galloped out strongly.

Dark Fuse, winner of a conditioned allowance April 17, figures to be prominent early.

Crescent Remark, winner of the Canadian Juvenile 1 1/16 miles while defeating Dance Me Free by a head, makes his first start of the year. Crescent Remark, however, wants more ground.

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