12/05/2008 12:00AM

Torquay a question mark in repeat bid


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Handicappers can go many different ways in Sunday's $150,000 Valedictory Stakes, the closing-day feature of the 167-day Woodbine meeting.

Torquay captured the 1 3/4-mile marathon convincing last year, over a weak field, and is obviously an expert over extended distances. Torquay, however, is winless in seven starts this year while competing predominantly in graded stakes.

"There was nowhere else to run him," said owner-trainer Nick DeToro, who claimed Torquay for just $12,500 in 2005. "He was out of conditions."

DeToro said the key to success for Torquay in the past has been to space his races out, and the gelding has been idle for a month since finishing sixth in the Grade 2 Autumn Stakes.

"He's his old self," said DeToro. "I'm hoping he can do it again on Sunday."

Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who has ridden Torquay in each of his last 12 races, has the mount.

Forty Creek should be a major player if he brings his "A" game, which was the case when he won a 1 3/8-mile allowance on the grass by four lengths in September.

Forty Creek never challenged while racing wide in the one-mile Bunty Lawless Stakes on Oct. 12. He switched to the Polytrack most recently in a 1 1/4-mile optional claimer, and came from last to prevail with a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

"He's a fresh horse, and he's trained super since he ran," said trainer Glenn Magnusson. "I think he'll fit pretty good. He gets in light. The distance should be right up his alley, as long as he settles. He rated last time."

The plodder Dubai Gold ended a drought when he took the 1 1/2-mile allowance prep for the Valedictory with a Beyer Figure of 92. The additional quarter of a mile should be within his range.

There are three U.S. shippers in the 13-horse field: Jade's Revenge, Star Plus, and Guadalcanal.

Jade's Revenge has struggled in graded stakes, since running well in back-to-back 1 5/8-mile stakes at Keeneland and Hollywood in the spring.

Star Plus was second in the Grade 3 Turfway Fall Championship going 1 1/2 miles in September, and was victorious in a nine-furlong allowance in two starts back at Keeneland, which was also on Polytrack.

Guadalcanal is a specialist over 1 1/2 miles on the grass.

Post time for the first of 13 races is 12:40 p.m.