10/12/2003 11:00PM

Minshall may send out pair in stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Barbara Minshall will hold a very strong hand in Wednesday's $129,000 Deputy Minister Stakes at Woodbine if she decides to run both Battlements and Snake Pit in the seven-furlong dash for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

Battlements captured the six-furlong Afleet Stakes with authority June 21. He reappeared two months later, against older Ontario-sired opponents in the Shepperton Stakes. He trailed in the seven-horse field after a wide trip, but was beaten only 3 1/4 lengths.

Battlements also faced older foes in his two most recent outings, a pair of $80,000 optional claimers. He was a troubled fourth in a Sept. 14 race at 6 1/2 furlongs, and second as the favorite going seven furlongs Oct. 1.

"He's run a couple of hard races, and has had some bad luck," Minshall said. "He couldn't get through in the stretch," Minshall said of the Sept. 14 race, "and he grabbed himself on the turn in his last race, but he's fine now. This will probably be his last race of the year, and then I'll put him away until next year."

Snake Pit was second to future champions Wando and Added Edge in his first two 2-year-old outings, and then won his maiden by seven lengths in the seven-furlong Frost King Stakes. He was beaten a pole, however, when he ended his campaign on Nov. 2 in the nine-furlong Coronation Futurity.

Snake Pit led throughout a seven-furlong Ontario-sired allowance July 24 in his return from a nine-month layoff caused by injury. He was fourth in each of his two subsequent starts at the second allowance category.

"He's doing really well," Minshall said. "It's taken him a while, but he's finally gotten to train on a steady basis. He's had a lot of minor setbacks after coming off a pretty serious injury."

Leading rider Todd Kabel was named on both Minshall Farm runners.

Completing the Deputy Minister lineup are Biddy's Lad, Obliquity, Executive Legacy, and Mamba King.

Biddy's Lad, who took the 2002 Bull Page Stakes, was third behind Majestic Wisdom and Wando in his March 30 season opener in the Achievement Handicap. He took the summer off after suffering three straight double-digit losses, and won a $62,500 claimer when he came off the sidelines Sept. 13.

Executive Legacy has won 3 of 8 starts at the meeting, and is 2 for 4 at seven furlongs. He attended the pace on the outside before fading to fifth in a recent allowance.