08/26/2002 12:00AM

Met Mile winner Exciting Story retires


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Exciting Story, victorious in last year's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont, has been retired from racing, according to his trainer, Mark Casse.

"He's not going to run anymore," Casse said on Saturday. "We've got some people interested in him as a stallion prospect. There's a chance he could go overseas, but nothing is firm yet."

Exciting Story, owned by Mockingbird Farm, was crowned Canada's champion 2-year-old in 1999. He suffered a serious injury in his final start that year, in the Grade 1 Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes.

"He had his tendon sheath severed when he got stepped on in the Grey," Casse said. "He almost died. When he was getting good at 3, another horse jumped on his back leg. He had to be operated on twice, but overcame it all to win the Met Mile at 4. He was truly a very good horse."

Exciting Story, 5, has struggled this year, winning just one allowance race in seven starts. A son of Diablo, he won seven of 25 career outings, including five stakes wins, and earned $911,270.

Promising 2-year-old sold

A two-thirds interest in Added Edge, perhaps Casse's best 2-year-old, was recently sold by owner Robert Wilson to Kentucky-based Team Valor.

Added Edge earned an 88 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest by a 2-year-old at the Woodbine meeting, when he captured his debut on Aug. 8. He won by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:17.78 for 6 1/2 furlongs.

"I'm still going to train him," Casse said. "I thought his maiden win was one of the best performances I've had by a 2-year-old since Exciting Story broke his maiden. I hadn't really trained him that hard going into the race, and I was a little concerned that he'd get tired, but he impressed me. I expect him to really improve."

Casse said Added Edge, a son of Smart Strike, will make his next start here Sept. 8 in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes, a one-mile turf race.

No Atto for Waltzin' Storm

Waltzin' Storm, second as the favorite in the Grade 3 Play the King Handicap, the local prep for the Grade 1 Atto Mile, will likely bypass the Sept. 8 Atto, according to Casse.

"Even though I believe I under-trained him for the Play the King, I don't think he's Atto Mile material," Casse said. "He was a little too sharp in the race, and made the lead a little sooner than we would have liked."

The Casse-trained Meghan-mehappy, unbeaten in two starts, including the allowance prep for the Natalma Stakes, will run in the Grade 3 Natalma, a one-mile turf race on Sept. 7.

Turf next for Win City

Win City, Canada's reigning horse of the year, worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds over the turf training course on Sunday, and could race on grass for the first time in his next start.

Win City is nominated to the Atto, but owner Frank DiGiulio Jr. said he could run in a classified allowance on turf Monday.

"He should like the long stretch of this turf course," said DiGiulio. "He's by Slew City Slew, and they seem to like the turf, but I don't know about his dam."

Win City is winless on the year, but was a fast-closing second to Lucky Molar most recently on Aug. 7, in the Seagram Cup Stakes.

Entry the likely favorite

DiGiulio's entry of Brass in Pocket and Gorilla My Dreams should be favored if they both run in Wednesday's Woodbine feature, an $80,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares.

Brass in Pocket, the lone 3-year-old in the six-horse field, has won three of four starts. Trained by Bob Tiller, she led all the way to capture the July 31 Eternal Search Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies.

Gorilla My Dreams, a 5-year-old, has won two in a row at the $62,500 optional claiming level, earning mediocre Beyers in both races.

Patrick Husbands was named on both runners, replacing the injured David Clark.

Completing the field for Wednesday's headliner are Rich Mist, Letter of Intent, Time to Decide, and Royal Dalliance.

Handicapping Challenge winner

Steve Duffield, of Burlington, Ontario, won the $55,000 Woodbine Thoroughbred Handicapping Challenge, held last weekend.

Duffield, who entered the contest twice, earned first prize of $21,429, and also won $1,071 for finishing sixth.

Michael Gotkin banked $11,429 for ending up second. John Barbeito and Norman Benhatzel rounded out the top four finishers, who all earned trips to the Daily Racing Form/NTRA Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas in January.

DRF correspondent Ted Labanowich won the media portion of the contest.