05/17/2004 12:00AM

Sharky Brown's speed the difference

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sharky Brown will jump up in class as he seeks his third consecutive victory in Wednesday's seventh race at Woodbine, a $40,000 claimer for nonwinners of three.

Sharky Brown, who finished far back in the slop when he debuted last November, displayed a remarkable turnaround against $16,000 maidens in his first start of the season, April 17. He darted out to a clear lead over a muddy track in that six-furlong race, and opened up clear advantage at the eighth pole, before staggering home on top by three-quarters of a length.

Sharky Brown caught another muddy strip May 2, in a five-furlong sprint for $20,000 nonwinners of two at Fort Erie, and shrugged off an early challenge on the front end, before coasting home on top by 2 1/2 lengths.

Sharky Brown figures to have an edge if the track is kind to speed, like it often is on Wednesday nights. Tyrone Harding retains the mount for trainer Seymour Bennett.

Also entered in the six-furlong race are Nicholle's Devil, Wild Arrow, Espee Ess, Gold Glory Won, Running on End, Mamba King, Imarealfancydehere, As Expected, Cree Power, Crown's Justice, Martini Justice, Whiskey Sez, and Tudy's Choice.

Espee Ess should be well-backed in his second start off a layoff. He was blocked in the stretch while in contention in his season debut, and finished a close third while earning a career-high 80 Beyer, an excellent speed figure for this caliber of competition.

Espee Ess won 2 of 9 starts last year for RMC Stable and trainer Cliff Hopmans. Constant Montpellier, his regular rider in 2003, has the call.

Cree Power is competing for a tag for the first time since he won his maiden in the fall of 2001. He ran just twice last year, with his best result a runner-up placing in a second-level allowance. Cree Power's trainer, Mike Doyle, snapped out of a slump last Wednesday, when he won twice on the seven-race card.

Jim McAleney, Woodbine's leading rider, with 17 wins from 72 mounts, will pilot Mamba King, who could press Sharky Brown on the lead. A 4-year-old trained by David Bell, Mamba King beat Ontario-sired allowance and maiden special competition in his two scores last year, but is coming off a dull effort over a sloppy track in his season debut.

Martini Justice defeated $32,000 3-year-olds off a six-month layoff in his final 2003 appearance in November, and is obviously very capable when fresh.