05/06/2004 11:00PM

Newcomer faces Kalfaari, and distance looks key


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Kalfaari faces new competition as he returns to Assiniboia Downs in Sunday's featured sixth race, a five-furlong allowance valued at $16,000.

Owned and trained by Clint Willson, Kalfaari was last seen here winning the Free Press Stakes on June 15, 2003. A 7-year-old gelding, he went on to win two stakes at Northlands Park and one at Hastings last year.

Kalfaari began this year with a third-place finish in an allowance race at Hastings on April 18. A son of Alfaari, he is 10 for 14 locally and has won 5 of 6 starts at five or 5 1/2 furlongs.

Kalfaari will be ridden by Orlando Martinez Jr. for the first time, breaking from the outside post in the field of seven.

Smoked Em has been privately purchased by the Well Being Stable since his last race, a third-place finish in a $50,000 claimer at Keeneland, and makes his first start here.

A 5-year-old son of Smoke Glacken trained by Clayton Gray, Smoked Em has four lifetime victories, including the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico in April of 2002, when he posted a career best Beyer Speed Figure of 100.

Primarily a router, Smoked Em's only previous sprint came in his first lifetime start, and he may be hampered by Sunday's short distance.

Smoked Em will break from post 4 under Keveh Nicholls.

The K-5 Stable will be represented by stakes winners Northern Affair and Sir Pucker.

Trained by Keith Corbel, Northern Affair has won 4 of 8 lifetime starts, including last year's R. J. Speers Stakes.

A 4-year-old son of Subordination, Northern Affair will break from the rail with Paul Leacock in the irons for the first time.

Sir Pucker, trained by Harry Kube, won last year's Gold Breeders' Cup Stakes. A 7-year-old Texas-bred, he starts from post 6 under Travis Hightower.

Adversary, starting from post 3 with Jerry Pruitt, and Double Time will likely be close to the pace early.

One Good Soldier rounds out the field.