04/22/2004 11:00PM

'Private' looking for the cure

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CALGARY, Alberta - There are some issues concerning Private Issue, the morning-line favorite in a six-furlong maiden special weight for 3-year-olds that runs as the sixth of eight races at Stampede Sunday.

Private Issue is the most experienced horse in the field of nine, which is not necessarily viewed as an advantage when handicapping maiden races. The gelding is 0 for 8, but has been close each time.

His defeats have come at distances ranging from 3 1/2 furlongs to 6 1/2 furlongs and on fast tracks and muddy tracks. Included among his conquerors is the nice filly Classa Red Wine and such good colts as Ozzie's J J and Ol Fifty.

If one viewed the glass as half-empty, one could say Private Issue keeps finding ways to get beat. His connections, including trainer Joan Petrowski, prefer the "half-full" theory, and hope Private Issue is primed for his graduation from the maiden ranks.

With five runner-up finishes, including a one-length defeat here April 11 at the hands of Kat Kool - a highly rated prospect from Red Smith's stable - Private Issue is afflicted with a case of "seconditis." But, the group he faces here and the inside post may be just what the doctor ordered.

Rickey Walcott, riding very well of late, retains the call on Private Issue.

Walcott scored a hat trick here Wednesday, and one of the winners, D J's Runnaway, paid $57.40. He picked up the mount on D J's Runnaway at the last minute when Shannon Beauregard injured her foot after being unseated in the post parade.