11/17/2003 12:00AM

Out of the blue, it's Judiths Wild Rush


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Last Saturday's Display Stakes was billed as a Sovereign Award showdown between Smoocher and A Bit O'Gold, with the title of champion 2-year-old colt or gelding up for grabs.

But when the dust had cleared, it was Judiths Wild Rush, making his stakes debut, who routed his opponents in a 10-length victory.

Finishing the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:43.59, Judiths Wild Rush earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105, equaling the highest by any 2-year-old in North America this year.

"Unbelievable," said trainer Scott Fairlie, who is second in the trainer standings here but recorded his first stakes win of the meeting in the Display. "I knew he was a serious horse, but the way he ran was awesome."

Judiths Wild Rush, a Kentucky-bred colt by Wild Rush out of the Black Tie Affair mare Tie Talk, was a $7,000 yearling purchase in Florida.

After romping by seven lengths with a $50,000 claiming tag in his debut, at five furlongs here Sept. 7, Judiths Wild Rush captured a first-level allowance by a head over six furlongs of muddy going Oct. 19.

Now perfect in three starts, Judiths Wild Rush is bound to attract the attention of Sovereign Award voters, as well as prospective purchasers.

"The phone hasn't stopped ringing," said Fairlie.

Owned by Tenenbaum Racing Stable, Judiths Wild Rush will probably start once more this year, but his next performance will not factor into the Sovereign Award voting since the ballots were slated to go out Tuesday and to be returned by Friday.

"We're looking at a few different things," said Fairlie, noting that an attractive option could be the $1 million Delta Jackpot over 1 1/16 miles at Delta Downs Dec. 5.

"After that, the horse is going to get a break; it's just a matter of how long," Fairlie said.

Judiths Wild Rush probably will winter in Florida, Fairlie said.

Smoocher headed to U.S.

Smoocher, a Florida-bred colt who won the Grade 2 Grey over 1 1/16 miles in his start before the Display, was no match for Judiths Wild Rush but finished 11 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Begborrowanddeal.

"I think he ran his race," said David Bell, who trains Smoocher for owner-breeder John Franks. "The winner kind of scooted away from us. My horse seems like he's even-paced. He's a big, long-striding horse who'll do well later."

Smoocher is slated to make his next start south of the border, with the Delta Jackpot, the Nov. 29 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs, and the Dec. 13 What a Pleasure at Calder among his possible targets.

A Bit O'Gold 'bashed around'

A Bit O'Gold had been undefeated in three starts going into the Display, with his latest win coming in the $250,000 Coronation Futurity here Nov. 15. But his bubble burst in a big way in the Display, as A Bit O'Gold trailed home last in the field of five, beaten 29 lengths.

"He got bashed around pretty good, and came back a bit cut up," said trainer Catherine Day Phillips. "In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have run him back. But we took a shot, and I probably would do the same thing again."

A Bit O'Gold will take the rest of the year off and start back up in January at Classic Mile Farm in Ocala.

Winter Whiskey to try again

Winter Whiskey, another talented 2-year-old gelding who will be part of the Day Phillips string in Florida, also raced here on the weekend. He finished third in Sunday's 6 1/2-furlong Sunny's Halo for Canadian-breds.

Although he was beaten 6 1/2 lengths at 4-5, Winter Whiskey's effort did not dismay Day Phillips.

"A week ago, he wasn't going to be running in this race," said Day Phillips. "He galloped out real well, and he'll go on to the Kingarvie."

The $125,000 Kingarvie, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds, will be run here closing day, Nov. 30.

Night Sky ineligible for Sovereign

Night Sky, the 4 1/2-length winner of the Sunny's Halo, is not eligible for Sovereign Award consideration because he was making just his second career start.

To be eligible, a horse must have started at least three times in Canada this year before the Nov. 17 cutoff date. Night Sky, owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Danny Vella, won at first asking, at five furlongs here Oct. 30.

"Mr. Stronach has slowed down on his whole 2-year-old program," said Vella. "This little guy came around real quick, on his own."

"He's a very professional little horse. He's done everything right so far."

Vella is cautious, however, when it comes to predicting how Night Sky, an Ontario-bred gelding by Gold Case out of the Saint Ballado mare Evening Hush, will fare at longer distances.

"He ran very even fractions [in the Sunny's Halo], and he certainly finished strong," Vella said. "His breeding would say he'd go a little farther. Whether he'll get a true distance or not, we'll see next year."

Night Sky will spend the winter with Vella at Adena Springs South in Florida.

Twisted Wit gets sick

The Sunny's Halo lost a leading contender when Twisted Wit, who has won two stakes, was a late scratch.

"He spiked a temperature overnight," said trainer Bob Tiller. "I wanted to wait as long as I could, but I couldn't take a chance."

Twisted Wit will head to the farm with three wins in five starts and earnings of $234,855.