09/08/2003 12:00AM

Regal Ability has stamina to spare, too

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EDMONTON, Alberta - After running in the Canadian Derby, Regal Ability started just once more last year, and he had just two races in 2003 leading up to the $100,000 Speed to Spare at Northlands Park on Saturday.

The grueling 1 3/8-mile distance appeared to be too much for the 4-year-old gelding to overcome, and it was no surprise that Regal Ability, a Don Gilkyson-trained Alberta-bred, was 25-1 at post time.

Breaking cleanly from post 6, Regal Ability surged to the lead as the rest of the field settled in behind, waiting for the opportunity to pounce.

Heading down the backstretch for the second time, Regal Ability held onto a four-length lead over the favored They Call Me Cody.

They Call Me Cody closed the gap through the final turn, and as the two horses hit the top of the lane, Regal Ability's lead was reduced to a neck. The two battled down the stretch, but They Call Me Cody was unable to make up any more ground on the game Regal Ability.

The winner's share of $63,000 more than doubled Regal Ability's lifetime earnings, and his backers were rewarded as well, as he paid $53.60 to win.

Vancouver invader Let's Go Rusty closed strongly to finish another neck back in third, 11 1/2 lengths ahead of fourth-place finisher and defending Speed to Spare champion Bubblegum Kid.

- On Friday night, A Shaky Start won her third stakes of the year in the $49,000 Sales Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Jockey Leanne Painter was aboard the winner. Lot a Smoke finished second, with To Dream Again third.