08/26/2003 11:00PM

Next time for premature movers


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Few things are more heartbreaking for a horseplayer than to see his horse flatten out in the final furlong of a race after making a premature move, something that happens regularly at every track.

A prime example is the Woodbine-based Perfect Soul's try in the Grade 1 Arlington Million Aug. 16. Perfect Soul raced in mid-pack early before making a bold wide bid on the far turn of the 1 1/4-mile race. He hit the front at the top of the stretch, where he looked like a winner, only to gradually weaken and finish less than a length back in fifth.

Perfect Soul has earned a reputation as a horse who often idles if he makes the lead too soon. He has done his best running after being covered up for as long as possible, a trip that wasn't possible in his start before the Million, the Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes at Woodbine. He stalked the pace on the outside in a strung-out field in that race, and couldn't hold off a strong late bid from Strut the Stage after coasting to the lead in upper stretch. Perfect Soul should be dangerous on Sept. 14 when he cuts back for the Grade 1 Atto Mile, which figures to have a large field loaded with speed.

Royal Attraction is one of several horses who moved obscenely early here recently. Royal Attraction stalked the pace on the backstretch in a $40,000 maiden claiming race last Friday before blowing by the leaders heading into the far turn. He appeared to idle on a clear lead at the quarter pole, and was overhauled in the stretch by a plodding Bittersweet Rain.

Fantastic Allie got away slowly in a seven-furlong allowance on the grass Aug. 20, and was second-last going into the turn. Suddenly, she inhaled most of her 12 opponents with a six-wide bid midway on the turn and was within striking distance of the lead at the head of the stretch. Understandably, she faded in the final furlong, yet she wasn't badly beaten, finishing seventh as the 5-2 favorite.

Silver Champ gave up second money in the final strides after mounting an eye-catching wide rally in an Aug. 6 allowance sprint. She enjoyed a perfect three-wide tracking trip near a two-horse speed duel on the turn in a similar allowance race Aug. 17, but gave way to a charging Sweet Dynamite after establishing a comfortable advantage early in the lane.

Running Saint tops horses to watch

Last Saturday's seventh race, a five-furlong maiden special weight race for 2-year-old fillies, had several first-time starters worth following. Among them is runner-up Running Saint, who broke slowly and didn't switch leads until the sixteenth pole. Libertywithjustice was steadied heading into the turn while in tight near the front end, and then dropped back before closing late for third. Ashburn Rd, the sixth-place finisher, got away poorly from the outside post in the 11-horse field, and had a very wide journey before galloping out strongly. Expect her to show more at longer distances.

Other horses to watch:

Diadella - Sent off as the favorite in Saturday's allowance prep for the Sept. 14 Canadian Handicap, she trailed the field through the turn, as Ginger Gold set slow fractions in a front-running win. Diadella closed down the center of the course without much encouragement, and finished second in an effort that should set her up nicely for the Grade 2 Canadian, a race she was beaten a nose in last year.

Unique Devil - He lost all chance when he suddenly veered out wide on the backstretch - to avoid a runner who was being pulled up - in Saturday's finale for $32,000 nonwinners of two. It was his first race outside the maiden ranks, and he could be competitive next time at a fat price.

French Lieutenant - He was stuck in traffic on the turn and during most of the stretch run before coming on late to finish third in a 14-horse field on the grass Aug. 20. It was his second straight troubled trip in a preliminary allowance race, a category he should be able to conquer when things go his way.