11/18/2008 1:00AM

Omaggio figures out front in allowance


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The versatile Omaggio could prove tough to catch in Thursday's Woodbine headliner, a second-level allowance-optional claimer on the Polytrack.

Omaggio had a productive 2007 campaign for trainer Jim Smith, who got him back after he ran well at Gulfstream in one start last spring.

Omaggio wired $40,000 opposition in his second start off the sidelines here July 9 and went on to finish fourth and third in two more Polytrack routes. He moved to the grass for a $40,000 claimer Oct. 11 and lost a heartbreaker to a sharp Andalusian, after setting the middle fractions.

Most recently in another $40,000 route on the lawn, Omaggio assumed command nearing the turn and never looked back, scoring comfortably while being awarded a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. Omaggio will probably establish a clear lead Thursday under leading rider Jim McAleney. He will run with a $60,000 claiming price in the 1 1/16-mile contest.

Trainer Sid Attard has made numerous profitable claims over the years, including champion One for Rose and Grade 2 stakes winner Just Rushing. The Attard-trained Skip Code, who was claimed for just $25,000 in October, has a realistic chance in the feature.

Skip Code ran second to favored Jungle Brew in his debut off the claim and is coming off a troubled fourth-place finish in another $62,500 optional claimer.

Gerry Olguin retains the mount on Skip Code, who won the 2006 Grey Stakes.

Emile Ramsammy, who was Omaggio's regular rider, is sticking with Sierra Cat.

Sierra Cat has failed to make the board in five appearances at the meeting, the first four of which were on the grass. Last time on the Polytrack, he finished a fairly close seventh behind Jungle Brew and Skip Code.

Sierra Cat led throughout a slow-paced allowance on the Poly last December, and it is conceivable that Ramsammy might try to go with Omaggio early.

Deputiformer registered a long-overdue victory in a first-level allowance Oct. 26, where he rallied stoutly on the outside to win convincingly. His only other score came in a restricted turf stakes, the Cup and Saucer, last year at 2.

Deputiformer competed in all three legs of this year's Canadian Triple Crown, finishing fourth in the Queen's Plate, fifth in the Prince of Wales, and sixth in the Breeders' Stakes.

Get Rich Quick, a 4-year-old trained by Malcolm Pierce, has stuck to the grass with occasional success since his lackluster debut at 2.