02/01/2007 12:00AM

Miesque's Approval returns in Canadian

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - What can Miesque's Approval do for an encore?

After capping off a sensational and surprising 7-year-old campaign by winning the Breeders' Cup Mile and earning the Eclipse Award as the top male turf horse of 2006, Miesque's Approval returns at 8 for yet another season beginning Saturday at Gulfstream Park in the $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

Miesque's Approval, a homebred son of Miesque's Son owned by the Live Oak Plantation, won 5 of 7 starts and more than $1.9 million in 2006. One of his two losses came in the Canadian Turf when his furious closing surge fell three-quarters of a length short of catching the 9-5 favorite English Channel.

Miesque's Approval and English Channel were supposed to meet again on Saturday, but a brief illness forced trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr. to change his plans and hold English Channel out of the Canadian Turf - much to the chagrin of Miesque's Approval's trainer, Marty Wolfson.

"I was hoping English Channel ran because, being fresh, he'd assure an honest pace, and that's the most important thing for my horse in this or any other race," Wolfson said. "Naturally it would also have been nice to avenge the loss from last year, but a fast pace is what I'm really looking for."

Wolfson said Miesque's Approval could use the Canadian Turf as a prep for the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Nad Al Sheba on March 31.

"I haven't done a lot with him since the Breeders' Cup," said Wolfson. "He's 8 years old and happy, but hopefully his class will overcome that fact, especially over this turf course, where closers really seem to do well."

Regular rider Eddie Castro will be aboard Miesque's Approval, who shoulders high weight of 123 pounds, conceding up to 10 pounds to his seven rivals on Saturday.

Even without English Channel, the Canadian Turf, which was upgraded to Grade 3 status this season, should have enough pace to satisfy Wolfson. Better Than Bonds, Jet Propulsion, Kiss the Kid, and Demeteor are all speed types, while Giant Wrecker figures to race well-placed just behind the early leaders.

Host, a Grade 1 winner in 2005, could prove an ample replacement for his absent stablemate English Channel. A Chilean-bred, Host won the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile three weeks before finishing a late-striding seventh in the 2005 Breeders' Cup Mile. He has not started since finishing fourth in last year's edition of the 1 1/8-mile Dubai Duty Free. In his last local appearance, Host finished a game second after contesting all the pace in the Grade 3 Appleton Handicap in 2005.

Jambalaya finished second in three straight Grade 2 events at Woodbine last season before closing out his campaign finishing ninth in the Grade 1 Canadian International. Trained by Catherine Day Phillips, he'll be making his first U.S. appearance since winning the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga during the summer of 2005.