08/10/2003 11:00PM

Spring Barley is lone speed


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The pace scenario in Wednesday's second race at Woodbine didn't look too promising for speedy Spring Barley when the overnight came out Sunday, because there were two other rapid runners in the field - Mr. Epperson and Continentalsuccess. But things changed dramatically at scratch time Monday, when both Mr. Epperson and Continentalsuccess were withdrawn, leaving Spring Barley as the main speed in the seven-furlong turf race for $80,000 claimers.

Spring Barley, trained by Ernie Celsie, equaled the six-furlong record over the E.P. Taylor turf course (1:07.60) in September 2001. He won just one of his eight starts in 2002, with that victory coming in a seven-furlong turf race for $50,000 claimers, which was his second win in eight attempts at that distance.

Spring Barley has made just one start this year, in a $62,500 claimer July 23, in which he set the pace until the top of the stretch before fading to finish 7 1/2 lengths behind the winner. He had to have needed the race, his first in nine months, and should be dead fit for this assignment.

Constant Montpellier picks up the mount on Spring Barley.

Rounding out the second race field are Sir Blitz, Hoptuit Bud, Hot Pepper Hill, Tempered Appeal, Line of Defense, Classic Mike, Gone Fishin, Executive Celtic, and Don't Seven Out.

Don't Seven Out, victorious in the 1999 Bold Ruckus Stakes, has been first or second in each of his last three grass outings. He beat Mr. Epperson when he captured a July 12 optional claimer over good ground, and was placed first via disqualification in another $80,000 race June 21.

David Clark will ride Don't Seven Out for trainer Ralph Biamonte.

Gone Fishin, another classy veteran with stakes performances on his rŽsumŽ, ended a drought when he rallied to capture a recent $62,500 claimer. Todd Kabel, who rode him in a third-place finish against $50,000 claimers July 1, has the mount for trainer Mike Doyle.

Classic Mike, a son of superb turf sire Smart Strike, is trying the grass for the first time. He has not been worse than fourth in four starts at the meeting.

Sir Blitz won two of his first three outings at this meet, against allowance competition, but could only manage a ninth-place finish last time out, in the allowance prep for Play the King Handicap.

Late-running Line of Defense has run well over the grass in the past without winning.