Updated on 09/16/2011 8:10AM

Stp: Conditions attract enough to split


CALGARY, Alberta - When 13 entries were received for an allowance/optional claimer at Stampede Park, track officials decided to split the race. The resulting co-features run as Sunday's sixth and seventh races, going six furlongs for purses of $18,800.

One of the enticements was the allowance condition "nonwinners of $15,000 once since Jan. 1, 2001," which writes out stakes winners from last year, giving allowance and upper-level claimers a legitimate shot.

Such races have consistently filled in the past and produced excellent betting races, as is the case Sunday.

Three Johns will garner support in the sixth off his steady work tab for trainer Red Smith and his strong races at this meet last spring.

Three Johns opened his year with a victory a year ago to the day in a similar spot and later made the early running in the Teeworth Plate before finishing third, beaten a length.

His main rivals include Baie Comeau, second to Fancy As in the Alberta Derby last June, and Miki Bleu Eyes, who raced very well at Northlands last year after returning from an unsuccessful stint at Woodbine.

The second division came up tough as well, with veterans River Wild and Gray Aras facing a challenge from several 4-year-olds looking to stake their claims in the older-horse division.

Should the pace be rapid, then River Wild, who runs very well fresh, will be the one rolling late under Stephan Heiler.

A winner of 14 races lifetime and hero of the Stampede Futurity in 1996, River Wild tuned up for his seasonal debut with a five-furlong drill of 1:00.60 on April 6.

Gray Aras drew the rail and has enough early foot to allow jockey Quincy Welch to place him in a striking position in the run through the first turn.

Affordable Fun and Royal Ceremony drew the outside posts and are expected to vie for the early lead.

for entries.

Subscribers: to purchase Past Performances.

Non-subscribers: Click here to purchase Past Performances.