07/28/2009 11:00PM

Smokey Fire looks good again


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The nicely-bred Smokey Fire will probably be favored when the smoke clears in Friday's Woodbine headliner, a second-level optional claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on the grass.

Smokey Fire, a 4-year-old trained by Sid Attard, did not debut until May 30, when he wired maiden special opponents with ease and was awarded a Beyer Speed Figure of 97. He switched to the grass for his second start, and turned back two challenges on the lead before drawing clear to prevail with a Beyer Figure of 90.

Most recently, Smokey Fire moved up to this $62,500 optional-claiming class, and was bet down to favoritism for the third straight time. He stalked the pace along the rail until the stretch in that 6 1/2-furlong turf dash, and was eventually beaten a neck by the closing longshot Captain Raucous.

Chantal Sutherland will ride Smokey Fire, who is a full brother to stakes winner Utterly Cool. Their half-brother, Ghost Fleet, recently won his debut and is among the more promising 2-year-olds at Woodbine.

Captain Raucous competes with a $60,000 selling price, which is the same price he had when he beat Smokey Fire after rallying wide from the back of the pack. He was previously in spotty Polytrack form, and perhaps the grass is now his preferred surface.

The Sam-Son Farm entry of Written in Stone and Cross Every Bridge, who are both trained by Mark Frostad, should be well backed.

The win-shy Written in Stone finished second on four occasions last year, but he got home on top in a one-mile allowance in August. He wound up fourth and fifth in his two appearances this year, one of them Captain Raucous's triumph over Smokey Fire.

Cross Every Bridge made quite an impression the only time he started in October. He led throughout that one-mile maiden special to score by nearly nine lengths. He was scratched from a first-level allowance sprint that was taken off the grass last Sunday.

Gone Trajectory defeated River Heights and Flashy Yankee in taking a seven-furlong allowance July 5. He was previously a minor player in Ontario-sired stakes company.

Whiskeyontherocks and Tiger Bud were entered only for the Polytrack.

Whiskeyontherocks has captured all three of his starts for trainer Terry Jordan, who also entered the inconsistent but talented Captain Cugat.

Tiger Bud recently finished third behind Grade 2 West Virginia Derby entrant Monty's Best and the hard-knocking Salty Langfuhn in a route on the Polytrack.