06/08/2006 11:00PM

Smudgeledo should get early lead

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CALGARY, Alberta - Before the April 29 Stampede Park Sprint Championship, the wise guys thought there was too much speed for Smudgeledo to contend with.

The result was a $16.50 win price, as Smudgeledo, a 4-year-old Washington-bred, led every jump of the six furlongs.

The same pundits believed the mile distance of the Teeworth was too far for Smudgledo here May 20, but the gritty gelding once again led throughout and provided his backers with a $24.10 payoff.

Maybe the naysayers have some ammunition left for Sunday's $50,000, 1 1/16-mile Herald Gold Plate. Smudgeledo drew the outside post in the field of eight older runners and is assigned high weight of 124 pounds under the allowance conditions.

Real Simard, who picked up the mount on Smudgeledo in the Teeworth after Quincy Welch opted to take off despite winning the Sprint Championship, is back aboard for leading trainer Greg Tracy - and the game plan remains the same.

Smudgeledo is clearly the speed of the Herald Gold Plate, and Simard will attempt to cross over from the outside post.

Unless True Metropolitan and Fuhr Ore - who finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Teeworth - can press the issue early, the pace will be controlled by Smudgeledo.

True Metropolitan showed no early foot in finishing 5 1/2 lengths back last time, but has flashed speed in the past.