10/06/2002 11:00PM

'Maestro' gets more ground in Frost King


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Jake Nemett lit up the tote board at Woodbine last Saturday, when he sent out Pacifico to win a $40,000 maiden race at 21-1. Pacifico was Nemett's third longshot first-time starter to win at the meeting.

The second of that trio, El Gran Maestro, will make his second start in Wednesday's Frost King Stakes, a seven-furlong test for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds.

El Gran Maestro earned a mediocre 56 Beyer Speed Figure when he graduated in a maiden special weight race for Ontario-sired runners on Sept. 20, but he looked good doing it. Dismissed at 42-1, he rallied four wide over a speed-favoring track to win by a half-length.

Nemett believes Wednesday's added distance should benefit El Gran Maestro.

"I think seven furlongs will be better for him than 5 1/2," Nemett said. "The way he trains, it looks like he wants to go a little farther."

Jono Jones retains the mount on El Gran Maestro, who figures to be a longshot in the eight-horse field. Timeform, Canasta, and Snake Pit should garner the bulk of the betting action in the $133,125 event.

Timeform, a son of Tejabo, set a pressured pace and grudgingly gave way to be second, when he made his debut in the Sept. 2 Simcoe Stakes, a seven-furlong race for graduates of local yearling sales.

"We were trying to get a race or two into him before the Simcoe," trainer Mike Mattine said, "but we had to stop on him in May when he bucked his shins. He was ready for the race, and ran pretty good. He broke sharp from the 1-hole, and what else was [jockey Ray Sabourin] supposed to do but keep him up there. I didn't think he had that kind of speed, because Tejabos are mostly plodders."

Mattine describes Timeform as a dream to train. "He does everything right," Mattine said. "He's a smart horse, and he's been easy to maintain."

Canasta, trained by John Ross, could be favored off his second-place finish to unbeaten Added Edge in the seven-furlong Swynford Stakes, for which he was given an 82 Beyer. Canasta closed quickly to graduate in his August debut and his only other outing was a fourth-place finish in the Silver Deputy.

The Barb Minshall-trained Snake Pit, a maiden going on Lasix Wednesday, finished second in both of his starts behind the two best 2-year-olds on the grounds - Wando and Added Edge.

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