05/12/2009 11:00PM

Plenty of questions in sprint


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Questions abound regarding Friday's Woodbine headliner, a third-level $80,000 optional claimer.

Will the sharp shipper Raised for Speed handle the Polytrack? Can True Vindication double up? Will Mr. Flatter wire the field? Is the precocious Southern Exchange done? Will the win-shy Gantu improve off the claim?

Raised for Speed, a closer trained by Steve Klesaris, recorded a Beyer Speed Figure in the low 90s in each of his three most recent outings. He ran second in two consecutive six-furlong dashes over Aqueduct's inner track and is coming off a head score in a third-level optional claimer in the slop at Philadelphia Park.

Raised for Speed has yet to compete on a synthetic track, and might be best suited to dirt racing. The notion that there isn't much speed in this six-furlong event is another strike against him.

True Vindication parlayed good form in turf sprints at Fair Grounds into an impressive come-from-behind victory in a second-level optional claimer here April 4. He earned a career-high 91 Beyer that day, defeating next-out winners Paso Doble and Lone Endeavor.

True Vindication is sent out by a red-hot trainer, Malcolm Pierce, who has an excellent record with horses coming off a win and when they're ridden by his rider on Friday, Patrick Husbands.

Mr. Flatter had a productive winter stint at Tampa Bay Downs, where he gamely won an optional claimer going six furlongs on the dirt Feb. 14. He led most of the way for an easy triumph in a five-furlong optional claimer on turf the last time he saw action there March 7.

Mr. Flatter, who was a vet scratch here April 24, doesn't have much other speed to contend with Friday and could hit the board at a square price.

Southern Exchange was one of the leading 2-year-olds in Canada last year. He captured both the Victoria and Colin stakes convincingly and was a close fourth in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

Southern Exchange was beaten in double digits in both the Grade 3 Grey Stakes in October and the Sunshine Millions Dash in January. He was a lackluster seventh most recently in his first start for trainer Rick Dutrow, a stakes at the Ocala Training Center in February. Off those poor efforts, he's hard to recommend in his first start against older opposition.

Gantu was taken for $62,500 from his last race, a hanging second to Drunken Love. His new trainer, Scott Fairlie, has posted superb numbers first time off the claim.