09/03/2008 11:00PM

True Metropolitan goes after three-peat


EDMONTON, Alberta – True Metropolitan seeks his third straight Speed to Spare crown at Northlands Park on Saturday and is certain to be sent postward as the overwhelming favorite. The 63rd running of the Speed to Spare, a 1 3/8-mile race worth $100,000, attracted just four older horses.

The dominating presence of True Metropolitan, winner of the last two Sovereign Awards for his division, scared away the other Speed to Spare nominees. Despite the large purse, most rival horsemen chose to search for easier spots – with memories of True Metropolitan’s 10-length romp in this event last year and his excellent second-place finish in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in his last start on Aug. 17.

Perhaps a larger field could have been assembled had True Metropolitan been asked to concede weight, but under the weight-for-age conditions each entrant will carry 126 pounds and only Test Boy, Beau Brass, and Bear Character answered the call at entry time.

With little speed signed on, Quincy Welch and True Metropolitan will have the lead to themselves.

Test Boy ran a distant second last year, and his late-running style is compromised by the lack of pace in the short field.

Beau Brass, winner of this race in 2004 and 2005, faded to fourth last year after stalking True Metropolitan in the early stages, and the 8-year-old gelding is winless in six tries this year.

Bear Character exits a second-place effort in a $22,000 claimer and faces a daunting task as he attempts to record his first victory since his strong 3-year-old campaign in 2006.