12/02/2009 12:00AM

Stunning Stag runs with tag


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Stakes winner Stunning Stag will compete with a $62,500 tag in Friday's Woodbine headliner, a tough second-level optional claimer over seven furlongs.

Stunning Stag was claimed by trainer Sid Attard from Stronach Stable in November 2007 and has proven to be well worth the $40,000 for which he was acquired.

Stunning Stag went to the sidelines for 10 months after finishing a close second in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes in November 2008. He checked in fourth in a classified allowance route first time off the bench Sept. 11, and then won the restricted Mt. Sassafras Stakes when he cut back to seven furlongs a month later.

Most recently, on Oct. 23 in the allowance prep for this year's Autumn Stakes, Stunning Stag awaited room on the far turn before closing for second behind Ice Bear. The third-place finisher, Palladio, came back to romp in the Autumn, from which Stunning Stag was scratched.

Emma Wilson retains the mount on Stunning Stag, who is owned by Janice Attard.

Fifteen others were entered in the feature, including Drunken Love, who has regressed since taking back-to-back restricted stakes in the summer.

Drunken Love has been freshened since finishing a fading fifth Sept. 30 in the open King Corrie Stakes, in which Hollywood Hit broke the six-furlong Polytrack record.

The probable pacemaker, Paso Doble, led most of the way en route to running second Sept. 8 in the Vice Regent, a one-mile turf stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds. He has since been second twice in sprints at this level, most recently behind Smokey Fire, who subsequently captured the Kennedy Road Stakes with a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

The consistent 8-year-old Salty Langfuhn is at the end of a lucrative campaign, during which he's posted a record of 3-4-1 in 8 starts. He was recently second to a sharp Grazette's Landing, who returned to finish a troubled fourth in the Grade 3 Kennedy Road.

Matt's Lucky Lad wound up third behind Salty Langfuhn when he returned from a 13-month break Oct. 31. His trainer, Josie Carroll, possesses a solid record with horses making their second start off a long layoff.