05/31/2007 12:00AM

Soft spot for classy Beau Brass

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CALGARY, Alberta - Beau Brass has won $430,432, with most of his bankroll being accumulated in stakes competition, but was not among the nominees to Stampede Park's June 10 Herald Gold Plate. Trainer Rick Hedge opted to run Beau Brass Saturday in a one-mile optional $40,000 claimer, which drew six older horses.

A 7-year-old Alberta-bred, Beau Brass has probably lost a step, and despite the $50,000 purse of the Herald Gold Plate plus $37,000 in Alberta-bred bonus money, his connections viewed the $23,800 purse on Saturday as the best spot. Owned by Tom White, Beau Brass has never been a force at this spring meet, doing his best work at Northlands Park, but is the horse to beat here on his class alone.

Beau Brass comes off an even fifth-place finish in the Teeworth at this one-mile distance, but nobody was going to beat Test Boy that day, as that runner equaled the course record of 1:35.80 established by Roll on Briartic 18 years earlier.

The horse to catch on Saturday is Noble Dane, who drew the outside post and looms as the speed of the race. He moves up two notches off a wire-to-wire tally over $22,000 claimers here May 18.

Rickey Walcott, engaged in a spirited race with defending champion Quincy Welch for the riding title, picks up the mount on Noble Dane, while Jake Barton retains the call on Beau Brass.

Blowin in the Wind, a multiple stakes winner with career earnings of $414,724, has some back class in his corner and would appreciate a return to a fast surface after struggling in two sprints over courses rated as muddy and sloppy. Desmond Bryan has the call on Blowin in the Wind.