08/29/2003 11:00PM

Polaris tries to remain undefeated


EDMONTON, Alberta - Polaris takes an unbeaten record into Monday's $50,000 Birdcatcher, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Ten will run in the race, with Griffin's Wake and Wild Caribe the also-eligibles. All entrants will carry 118 pounds.

Polaris, a full brother to stakes winner Sir Deuces, is coming off a half-length victory over Duracat in the $50,000 Sale Stakes at

6 1/2 furlongs here Aug. 16. Before that, he won a maiden special weight dash at 3 1/2 furlongs.

Red Smith again has named Stephan Heiler to ride Polaris, who will break from post 7.

Smith also trains Tigger Bay, who has shipped in from Assiniboia Downs, where he was third in the Winnipeg Futurity. Smith also saddles Curious Gamble, who is still looking for a win after finishing third to Polaris in the Sale Stakes, beaten by three-quarters of a length.

The three will race as separate betting interests.

Duracat, with Real Simard from post 8, will challenge Polaris again. He won his maiden for $15,000 first time out.

But the chief threat to Polaris could come from Excellent Blend, who finished sixth in the Sale Stakes after winning his first two, including the open Edmonton Juvenile. Front-running Excellent Blend will have Richard Hamel up from post 4.

Coupled from Ernie Goldbeck's stable are Ol Fifty, with a win and three seconds, and Ozzie's J J, who won his maiden for $20,000.

Drawing the rail was Sombrero, who is making his first stakes appearance after a win for $15,000 and a runner-up allowance finish.