04/24/2008 12:00AM

Ronaldino looks tough in sprint

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CALGARY, Alberta - The 31st running of the Stampede Park Sprint Championship drew 21 nominees 10 days ago, but that was before a record-setting storm moved into Alberta, scaring off shippers and locals alike and leaving just seven entrants to contest the $50,000 handicap.

Ronaldino came to town early to conquer allowance foes with ease and wisely stayed here to assume the role of probable favorite with the defections of True Metropolitan, Teagues Fight, and Footprint. Ronaldino, 4, shipped here from his home base at Hastings and trainer Terry Jordan left him in the care of leading trainer Stu Simon following his April 6th win at the Sprint Championship distance of six furlongs. Quincy Welch wrapped up on Ronaldino in midstretch that day. The gelding worked back in a bullet 1:00.80 on April 17 - just before the Arctic storm front hit town.

Ronaldino will be on or near the lead in this group with Welch returning to partner him out of post 6. Defending champion Plagiarist drew post 5 with Rickey Walcott back aboard following an even effort in the prep here April 12. He runs coupled in the wagering with Hot Wired and is eligible to improve off his third-place effort to Footprint and Tejano Trouble.

Tejano Trouble turned in a big effort in the prep, gaining the lead at the furlong pole before Footprint came on again to his inside to prevail by a length.