04/03/2007 11:00PM

Speedster has edge in the cold


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Speed was the dominant running style during Woodbine's opening weekend. Early leaders and stalkers were victorious in nine of the 10 races on Saturday, and front-runners won all 10 events Sunday.

The cold weather in the forecast for Friday figures to help create a Polytrack surface that will have significant kickback. Speed should be dangerous again, which could give the edge to Northern Report in the opener on the nine-race card, a 6 1/2-furlong allowance for 3-year-olds.

Northern Report, a half-brother to the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year, A Bit O'Gold, won his maiden at second asking in his most recent race, Dec. 3. After stumbling at the start of that six-furlong maiden special, he dueled through lively middle fractions before holding on for a game victory, and was awarded a Beyer Speed Figure of 74.

Northern Report wintered at Aiken in South Carolina with trainer Mike Keogh, who had a second-place finish with his lone starter on opening weekend. Todd Kabel will ride Northern Report, a son of Snow Ridge.

The Dave Cotey-trained entry of Angel of the House and Yah Tee should be strongly backed in the feature.

Angel of the House graduated going a mile on the grass in his fifth start. He capped his 2-year-old campaign with a troubled fourth-place finish under apprentice Tyler Pizarro in the Display Stakes.

Cotey said Angel of the House lost some momentum in the middle of his rally in the 1o1/16-mile Display.

"He had to be checked turning for home, until everything opened up," Cotey said. "Then he took off and made a big run. It looked like he was going to be second, but he hung a touch the last part of it."

Cotey said he would probably run both horses, but would not make a decision until Saturday.

The Mark Casse-trained Safety Zone could go favored in the six-horse field.

Safety Zone was a close second to Angel of the House in his debut, and then rallied wide for a convincing maiden score around two turns on the Polytrack on Dec. 8.

Most recently in a tough allowance at Gulfstream, Safety Zone finished sixth behind Delightful Kiss and Chelokee, who was subsequently third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.