08/16/2007 11:00PM

True Metropolitan vulnerable choice


EDMONTON, Alberta - Sovereign Award winner True Metropolitan returns to Northlands Park on Sunday, heading a solid field of eight in the $50,000 Westerner Stakes.

True Metropolitan was under consideration for Sunday's $400,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs but trainer Terry Jordan opted instead for this easier spot.

"I like being 1-5," Jordan said.

Last summer, True Metropolitan cut a wide swath through Western Canada, winning stakes at Stampede, Hastings, and Northlands before heading to Woodbine and winning the Gradeo3 Woodbine Slots Cup. The cross-country campaign eventually netted True Metropolitan the Sovereign Award for top older horse in Canada.

True Metropolitan began his 2007 season by taking the George Royal at Hastings. After that, True Metropolitan headed east again, where he looked impressive in winning Woodbine's Grade 3 Dominion Day with a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

On paper, True Metropolitan clearly outclasses his rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Westerner, but his disappointing effort in the recent Seagram Cup at Woodbine - he ran fourth in a five-horse field - indicates that there might a chink in his armor.

High among those who could take advantage of even a partially diminished True Metropolitan is Fair Grounds import Test Boy. Claimed for $50,000 in March, Test Boy made an immediate impact on the Alberta circuit's handicap division. Yet, it was not until Test Boy made easy work of a tough field in the $75,000 Don Fleming here Julyo28 that fans got to witness this 4-year-old's growing potential.

Other top contenders include Laketon, winner of the recent Sun Sprint Championship; Trick of the North, who finished second to True Metropolitan in this race last year; and multiple stakes winner Teagues Fight.