08/08/2008 12:00AM

Vandal offers a Clarendon rematch


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bucephalus and El Brujo, the top two finishers in the July 5 Clarendon Stakes, will lock horns again Sunday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Vandal, a six-furlong stakes for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds.

Bucephalus, an $80,000 yearling purchase by Knob Hill Stable, finished second in his five-furlong debut behind Dryden, who subsequently ran second in the Colin Stakes. Bucephalus won his maiden in style in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon, registering a respectable 76 Beyer Figure. Trainer Kevin Attard said the colt ran to his expectations that day.

"We were coming back in two weeks," Attard said. "That was a little bit of a concern, but he showed every indication that the first race didn't take much out of him. It was a good stretch run to the wire with [El Brujo], and I was quite pleased with the way he handled himself."

Attard believes the stretch-out to three-quarters should suit Bucephalus.

"When we started him off, five-eighths wasn't the ideal distance for him, but I thought he was good enough to win," Attard said. "He just hooked a better horse that day."

Attard said he hopes to run Bucephalus back in the Sept. 1 Simcoe, a seven-furlong stakes for graduates of local yearling sales.

"If all goes well here and if he comes out of this in good order, I wouldn't mind taking a shot there," Attard said. "I think seven-eighths would be the perfect distance for him."

El Brujo won his debut over 4 1/2 furlongs after closing along the rail. He had a three-wide stalking trip before ending up a half-length back in the Clarendon.

"I thought he ran well," said trainer Malcolm Pierce. "He tried hard. He's a pretty handy little gelding. He's kind of surprised me by running well in every race."

Pierce said El Brujo has continued to progress.

"He's been training really well," said Pierce. "He's had two good works coming into the race. I'm happy with the way he's doing."

The maiden Silver Rocket faded to third in the Clarendon after setting the pace along the inside, which might not have been the place to be that day. In his previous race, he got left at the break before closing wide for third behind El Brujo. Silver Rocket has worked quickly leading up to the Vandal, and could be the pacemaker.

Rounding out the field are Mean Green and Win and Reign.