05/09/2007 11:00PM

Variables cloud New Providence

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Main Executive might need a race, and V S O P Please has one under his girth, albeit a poor one. The two front-runners will clash Saturday at Woodbine in the $125,000 New Providence Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for Ontario-sired runners.

Main Executive won the 2006 New Providence in his third start off a layoff. Then, after going through a slump in the summer and early fall, he won twice in November, in the allowance prep for the Kennedy Road Stakes and in the Kennedy Road itself. He makes his first start of the year on Saturday.

Trainer Radlie Loney said Main Executive had a setback shortly after he shipped back to Woodbine in February. "I was looking forward to running him on opening day, but he missed about a month of training after he bruised his foot," Loney said. "I had to back off and give him some time to heal."

Main Executive has come up short in his first start of the year twice, but Loney believes the gelding is sufficiently cranked up this time.

"His last two works were very impressive," Loney said. "It looks like he's back on track. He might be getting better [with age]."

V S O P Please won both of his 2006 starts last spring, in maiden and allowance company, before going to the sidelines. After spending the winter in Florida with trainer Jody Hammett, he finished sixth after flashing speed in the Jacques Cartier Stakes on April 14.

"He broke badly in the Jacques Cartier, and was probably a bit too sharp, being off a while," Hammett said. "He bled a little, which is the first time he's ever done that. We'd never treated him for bleeding."

In his five-furlong work in 1:00.40 on May 3, Hammett said V S O P Please outran the second-best horse in his barn, Guillaume Tell, by about four lengths. A former Todd Pletcher-trained runner, Guillaume Tell has placed in several graded turf stakes.

"He's coming along well," Hammett said. "We're just hoping he breaks good and that he can handle this track. Some of them need a race over it to get used to it."

The New Providence drew eight others, including Dave the Knave and Executive Choice.

Dave the Knave has never lost in four starts following a layoff; the most recent such win came in the Aug. 6 Shepperton Stakes.

New York invader Executive Choice was second here in the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton Stakes in December. Most recently, he was a non-threatening fourth in an optional claimer at Aqueduct.