06/28/2008 12:00AM

True Metropolitan's speed offers edge


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Tuesday's $200,000 Dominion Day Stakes on Woodbine's holiday card features an intriguing matchup between front-runner True Metropolitan and stretch-runner Sterwins. The former's tactical speed should give him an advantage in the Grade 3 event for older runners.

True Metropolitan, Canada's champion older runner in each of the past two years, captured last year's Dominion Day over a quality field after leading all the way in the 1 1/4-mile race.

True Metropolitan has started twice this year. He broke the six-furlong track record at Hastings in his season opener on the dirt in the George Royal Stakes. Most recently, he set slow fractions here in the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse Stakes and then held off Sterwins in the stretch to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths.

Trainer Terry Jordan is confident that True Metropolitan has held his form since Grade 3 Eclipse.

"He's the same as he was the last time he ran," Jordan said. "He's right on his game. Sterwins is a very nice horse, and that's who I'm concerned about this week."

Jordan pointed out that True Metropolitan is quite rateable.

"He doesn't have to be in front," he said. "He can come from off of it. That's the good part about him. He's very versatile."

Sterwins had a successful winter campaign on the grass at Fair Grounds, and he upset heavily favored Go Between while winning his first Polytrack outing in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland.

Sterwins lagged far off the pace before closing strongly in the Eclipse, earning his second consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in the process. Trainer Malcolm Pierce said he was puzzled as to why Sterwins was so far back in the early going that day.

"I think he can be a little closer to the pace than he was," Pierce said. "He just had way too much ground to make up. I was a little disappointed that [jockey Patrick Husbands] had him that far back.

"The same scenario might set up here, but I think we'll be a lot closer. We don't need 12 lengths to make up - six is plenty. I don't know if True Metropolitan is going to have his own way, like he did last time. I didn't have another horse good enough to put in there. I don't have any rabbits in my hat."