06/23/2004 11:00PM

Stonewall Harris solid favorite

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Stonewall Harris likely will be favored as he looks for his first stakes win in Saturday's $40,000 Manitoba, a one-mile race for Manitoba-bred colts and geldings.

Stonewall Harris began 2004 with a win over maiden claimers and was claimed for $15,625 by trainer Harry Kube for owner Kurt Zimmer.

Stonewall Harris followed his maiden score with an impressive win over first-level allowance foes May 28, then finished third in the Golden Boy Stakes in his most recent start.

Gary Melanson, who has been aboard Stonewall Harris for all three of his starts this year, retains the call from post 4.

Cool Smudge won three restricted stakes in a row to end his 2-year-old campaign en route to being named 2003 horse of the year by the Manitoba Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

A Caesar DeMarni-trained colt, Coal Smudge has failed to hit the board in three starts this year, finishing behind Stonewall Harris in his last two.

Cool Smudge, the only one in the field with a win at the one-mile distance, starts from post 6 with Jason Leacock in the irons.

Crackling Tiger and Southern Drive are the only other horses in the race with wins on their record.

Trained by Blair Miller, Crackling Tiger defeated maiden claimers in his only start. He will be ridden by Tim Gardiner as they begin from post 3.

Southern Drive won his maiden two starts ago. Trained by Emile Corbel, Southern Drive breaks from post 5 under Vince Guerra. Little Beau Pip is a full brother to 2002 Manitoba Stakes winner Beau Pip.

Trained by Raymond Liu, Little Beau Pip starts from post 2 with Keveh Nicholls in the irons.

Also in the field are: Simply Regal (post 1, Ken Hendricks), Shrike One (post 7, Larren Delorme), Jungle Tigre (post 8, Jerry Pruitt), and Kid Garson (post 9, Travis Hightower).