09/11/2008 12:00AM

Spying Eyes targets a rebound in Sifton


Spying Eyes should take on the role of favorite in Saturday's $50,000 J.W. Sifton Stakes at Assiniboia Downs, a 1 1/8-mile race for Manitoba-bred 3-year-olds that attracted a field of five

Spying Eyes has won three races and earned $43,424 this year, which is two wins and about $10,000 more than the combined totals of his four foes.

It took Spying Eyes four tries this year before he won his maiden, but he was then able to graduate to the allowance and stakes categories to great success.

After a third-place finish in the Frank Arnason Sire Stakes, Spying Eyes won back-to-back races, highlighted by a score in the Gold Strike Mile against fellow Manitoba-breds.

His two most recent starts, both over a mile, have been less than satisfying for his connections.

Two starts ago, Spying Eyes faced older horses in the Agassiz, where he reared at the break. He passed horses late to finish fourth, 13 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Brinello.

Last time out, Spying Eyes tracked a very slow pace and could never really gain ground on the winner as he finished third by six lengths behind the winner Mr Exspeedient.

Eight by Ten also is in the Sifton. He finished ahead of Spying Eyes in his last start when he ran second in the Agassiz, hitting the wire 1 1/4 lengths before that rival.

Although winless in 2008, Eight by Ten won two stakes races last year, the CTHS Sales Stakes and the Buffalo Stakes. Eight by Ten's past four races have seen him register ascending Beyer Speed Figures, and if that trend continues he'll be tough to beat.

Enzec makes just his third start, all of them in restricted stakes events. In his debut he finished second in the Arnason while 4 1/4 lengths in front of Spying Eyes.

Enzec ran sixth in the Gold Strike Mile, but improvement may come here as he has had a pair of bullet works since then.

Battlestation has the best chance to wire the field.

An easy maiden win at six furlongs in late July prompted Battlestation's connections to try the Gold Strike Mile. But he stumbled away from the gate, which forced him to exert himself early to be part of the pace, and he was empty down the lane. He finished fourth, beaten 7 1/4 lengths.