09/11/2006 11:00PM

Right level for old-timer


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The durable 10-year-old Frank's Selection won his first race in three years when he beat $62,500 optional claiming opposition Aug. 18. He will try to double up at the same level in Wednesday's Woodbine feature at seven furlongs on the grass.

Frank's Selection, based at Fort Erie with trainer Robert Griem, has posted many fine efforts over the years on Woodbine's turf course. He ran the race of his life two years ago in the seven-furlong Play the King Stakes, finishing a heart-breaking second to the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year, Soaring Free, after having serious traffic problems.

Frank's Selection had another troubled trip in last year's Grade 2 Play the King, in which he wound up third behind Vanderlin and Le Cinquieme Essai.

Frank's Selection was a well-beaten seventh in his first start of the season in a dirt allowance at Fort Erie. Two starts ago here in an allowance sprint on the grass, he finished a deceptively good fifth, despite lacking some room in the stretch. He put it all together most recently, when competing for a $62,500 claiming tag, scoring by two lengths with clear sailing on the outside under jockey Jack Lauzon.

Griem said he sought out slightly easier competition for Frank's Selection this year.

"Over the last few years, I've run him in some pretty tough races, and I thought we'd make it a little easier on him," Griem explained. "I wanted to get his confidence back up again. He's in pretty good order right now."

Griem said he would probably keep Frank's Selection in the race if it was moved to the Polytrack following rain that was forecast for Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Stradivinsky was recently sent here from Florida to trainer Malcolm Pierce, who won last Saturday's Grade 3 Seaway Stakes with Hide and Chic, another Live Oak Plantation-owned runner.

After winning a first-level allowance in May, the speedy Stradivinsky finished third in two consecutive turf stakes at Calder before going on sabbatical.

Vegas Venture was a profitable $47,500 claim by trainer Bob Tiller on the final day of the 2004 Woodbine meeting. Last year, he won 2 of 6 starts and $109,685.

Vegas Venture has struggled a little this year, but his two most recent efforts at this level were both decent. He made a belated wide bid for third after getting squeezed back heading into the turn of Frank's Selection's recent triumph.