06/05/2008 12:00AM

Sterwins sharp for Eclipse


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The multi-talented Sterwins will strut his stuff on Polytrack Saturday at Woodbine in the Grade 3, $150,000 Eclipse Stakes.

Sterwins, the runner-up in the 2006 Queen's Plate, has become a turf specialist during the past year under the guidance of trainer Malcolm Pierce. He spent the winter at Fair Grounds, where he won the $60,000 Diliberto in December before running competitively in three other stakes.

In his first try on Polytrack in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on April 20, Sterwins rallied wide from last to win going away. The 103 Beyer Speed Figure he got for the race is a career high.

Pierce said he was thrilled with Sterwins's performance in the 1 1/8-mile Ben Ali.

"My horse was quite impressive," Pierce said. "I really didn't know if we could beat Go Between. He was the big favorite, but [Sterwins] ran by him pretty nicely."

Pierce said Sterwins has evolved into an extremely versatile runner.

"He runs on anything," said Pierce. "He ran well on the grass for me last year, and he ran well in the Queen's Plate when it was still on the dirt. His last race put him on a high note. We're thinking about running him more on the Polytrack this year."

Sterwins breezed five-eighths in a bullet 59 seconds last Saturday.

"His work last Saturday, he did it very easily," Pierce said. "I'm quite happy with the way he's trained up to the race. He's coming into it in good order. The timing is good - it's been six weeks since his race in the Ben Ali."

True Metropolitan, Canada's champion older runner in each of the past two years, has shipped in from Vancouver for the 1 1/16-mile event.

True Metropolitan, 6, finished third as the favorite in last year's Eclipse. He has won 7 of 9 starts since, including the Grade 3 Dominion Day and the Grade 3 Autumn Stakes.

True Metropolitan broke the six-furlong track record at Hastings in his season opener May 3 in the George Royal Stakes. He covered the distance in 1:09.87, and earned a 97 Beyer.

Trainer Terry Jordan believes True Metropolitan has been doing as good as ever.

"He's training better this year than last year," said Jordan. "He should be tight enough for this race."

Jordan said he fears Sterwins the most in the Eclipse.

"It's not going to be a gimme," Jordan said. "He'll have to run."