07/12/2006 11:00PM

Marquis: Distance a big question


Five 3-year-olds who are graduates of the 2004 Saskatchewan yearling sale compete over seven furlongs Saturday in the $7,500 Sales Stake at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Excessively Sweet should take the bulk of the public support given her 3 wins from 4 starts in 2006.

Excessively Sweet started off her year at Stampede Park versus $12,000 claiming fillies, and won 2 of her 3 starts there. A return to the local scene for the June 30 Old Dutch Handicap produced a four-length victory and should make her the logical choice to extend her win streak to four.

But each of Excessively Sweet's victories in 2006 have been at six furlongs, so the extra furlong of the Sales Stakes may prove a deciding factor - especially considering that she faltered as the favorite last fall in the Prairie Lily Sales Stakes at seven furlongs.

Shadazzle, the other filly in the race, won her maiden by 11 lengths in her first start of the year before chasing Excessively Sweet in the Old Dutch and finishing second. Never worse than second in five starts (three times second to Excessively Sweet), Shadazzle may appreciate the extra yardage.

Of the three males in the field, Sofisticated Humour may prove the toughest foe based on his maiden score and third-place finish in the Saskatoon Handicap on July 1.