12/01/2006 1:00AM

Soul Rebel, 5 for 6, steps up


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Soul Rebel, an eye-catching winner of his debut at Woodbine on Oct. 5, 2005, was scheduled to make his second start in the Sir Barton Stakes on Nov. 27, 2005, but was a late scratch.

"He'd only raced once, and raced real impressively, and I was probably being a little aggressive if we ran him," said John Charalambous, who trains Soul Rebel for the Kingfield Farm of owner and breeder Richard Day.

"But, there was only one other race left that he could possibly run in. Fortunately it filled, and I was able to scratch from the Sir Barton. So, we didn't send him to the wolves right away."

Soul Rebel won that backup race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance for Ontario-sired nonwinners of two on Nov. 30, 2005.

And now, a year later, Charalambous believes Soul Rebel is ready to run with the wolves in the $125,000 Sir Barton here on Sunday.

"This is a nice horse," said Charalambous. "He's always had his little problems that kind of creep up; that's why he doesn't run a lot of times."

Soul Rebel opened his 4-year-old campaign this spring with a smart win against Ontario-sired nonwinners of three at seven furlongs but did not resurface until Sept. 8, when he won his fourth straight in a 1o1/16-mile first-level allowance.

Three weeks later, trying turf for the first time, Soul Rebel suffered his first defeat, finishing sixth under second-level allowance terms over 1 1/8 miles of good going.

That race was intended as a possible prep for the $125,000 Bunty Lawless, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and up here Oct. 29.

"The turf was soft, and he didn't handle it one little bit," said Charalambous.

"I never even nominated him for the Bunty Lawless, because I know I'm not getting a good turf to run on at the end of October."

As it transpired, the Bunty Lawless already had been taken off the turf and rescheduled at a mile and 70 yards for the following Thursday before the Oct. 29 program was canceled due to high winds.

Woodbine policy, however, is to run stakes back as programmed, without reopening the nominations or allowing supplements.

So the Bunty Lawless remained at a mile and 70 yards, with scratches from the originally scheduled running intact.

In the meantime, Soul Rebel ran his record to 5 for 6 with a second-level allowance score over 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 22, giving Charalambous cause to proceed to the Sir Barton.

"Basically, I've been looking at this race since his turf race," said Charalambous. "He's in good shape. He's training great.

"He's going to have to run against better horses, obviously, but he's up to the challenge, definitely."

Early start next year

Charalambous already has enjoyed a career year with earnings approaching $900,000 and stakes victories by London Snow in both the La Prevoyante and Lady Angela and by Summer Girlfriend in the Alywow.

Now, Charalambous will be taking a short break before gearing up for the 2007 meeting.

"It's been a long year," he said. "I'm almost wrapped up by Sunday. I'll have my quick horses back in early, and by the first of March I'll have my full slate of horses there."

True Metropolitan works

True Metropolitan, the leading candidate for older male honors in the Sovereign Award balloting this year, braved a miserable morning to breeze five furlongs in 1:01.20 under Carl Defreitas here Friday.

A convincing winner of the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Woodbine Slots Cup in his local debut on Nov. 18, True Metropolitan remains on target for to run in the $125,000 Valedictory, the 1 3/4-mile closing-day feature here next Sunday.

"He went nice and easy, finished up nicely, and galloped out good," said trainer Lorne Richards, who is subbing for the True Metropolitan's vacationing trainer, Terry Jordan.

Based in Vancouver with Jordan, True Metropolitan made a couple of trips to Alberta this year, winning 4 stakes from 5 starts.

After returning to Hastings and getting back-to-back stakes scores, True Metropolitan came east to Woodbine and knocked down his seventh stakes of the season.

"He's had a long campaign, but he seems to be hanging together," said Richards.

True Metropolitan, a 4-year-old gelding, is owned by Bob Cheema.

Other Valedictory contenders

The Valedictory originally was scheduled for this Sunday, which was to be closing day, but was moved when the meeting was extended by five days to compensate for days lost during the Polytrack construction.

Other leading candidates for the Valedictory include Last Answer and Colorful Judgement, the one, two finishers in the 1 1/2-mile allowance prep here Nov. 12, and Pellegrino, who is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Slots Cup.

Also scheduled for the closing-day card is the longest race of the meeting, a 1 7/8-mile starter allowance for horses who have raced for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2005-2006.

* The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will hold its final meeting of the season here Wednesday beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Champions area.