06/28/2006 11:00PM

Marquis Downs: Pravda vs. four

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Pravda, who is making his ninth start at his fourth different racetrack, should prove the one to beat in Saturday's $6,000 Saskatoon Handicap at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The six-furlong Saskatoon, for 3-year-olds, is the first local step on the path to the $15,000 Saskatchewan Derby here Sept. 9, which is the final day of the meet.

Pravda faces just four foes in the Saskatoon, three of whom are maidens.

Pravda began his career in Hastings before wintering at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where he made two starts. A return to Canada and the confines of Assiniboia Downs was all Pravda needed to win his maiden on May 14 and then beat winners just 12 days later.

In his most recent start, at Assiniboia Down, Pravda faded as the favorite against open $7,500 claimers at the Saskatoon distance.

On Saturday, Pravda's backers can expect to see him set the pace again and then hope he can hang on.

Sofisticated Humor is the other winner in the race, as he scored in a maiden special over a half-mile here this spring in his only start of 2006. In his last race of 2005, Sofisticated Humor showed some closing power and rallied to finish third in the Prairie Lily Sales Stakes.

Stage Finale was stakes-placed at 2 but finished 6 1/4 lengths behind Sofisticated Humor last out.

Caribou Creek and Dance Tiller both are running back on short notice after competing in a seven-furlong maiden special here last Saturday. Caribou Creek finished second, beaten one length, while Dance Tiller ran eighth and was nine lengths back of Caribou Creek.