08/04/2009 12:00AM

Step On Up rises to starter allowance

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Step On Up will jump up to starter allowance company in the third race on Thursday's eight-race Woodbine card. The five-furlong dash is limited to horses who competed with a claiming price of $20,000 or less since the beginning of 2008.

Step On Up had been idle for a year and a half when he graduated over $16,000 maidens in his first start for trainer Marty Drexler on May 27. He met a tough group in a $40,000 nonwinners-of-two event June 13, and wound up fourth behind Blizzard Buddy Ben, next-out allowance winner Bogue Chitto, and Golden Glade.

Step On Up lost a five-furlong race for $25,000 nonwinners-of-two by just a head July 1, but he cracked that condition most recently going 6 1/2 furlongs, while beating two next-out winners.

Drexler said he entered Step On Up in a $40,000 conditioned claimer last week, but opted for Thursday's race when that one failed to fill.

"I'd like to go a little bit farther, but this is a good spot," said Drexler. "He's doing pretty well, so I might as well run him."

Drexler said Step On Up's tactical speed is one of his main assets. "He's pretty rateable, and I think he can sit just off of it here," he said.

Leading rider Patrick Husbands, who had his choice of several runners in the eight-horse field, is sticking with Step On Up, a 4-year-old owned by Equinox Stable.

Garzon should be well-backed off his fourth-place finish in a difficult $50,000 claimer at seven furlongs July 25, for which he was awarded an 82 Beyer Figure. Trained by John Cardella, Garzon prevailed in a $40,000 claimer that was taken off the grass May 30, and was a stalking third against $50,000 opposition July 1.

David Clark inherits the mount from Husbands on Garzon, who won back-to-back five-furlong dashes in April.

Trainer Scott Fairlie sends out the entry of Inside Executive and Master Manipulator.

Inside Executive is winless since he landed an Ontario-sired allowance in his first try off the $10,000 claim in November. He placed in each of his two most recent races, both in $12,500 conditioned company.

Master Manipulator made most of the running last time out before fading to fourth in a seven-furlong contest for $25,000 nonwinners-of-three types. He has proven to be well worth the $9,500 for which he was claimed on April 4.