07/22/2008 11:00PM

'Ventura' drops into allowance

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Cool Ventura has run well in four straight stakes races this season, earning checks each time, but he has fallen short of defeating the best 3-year-olds on this circuit. So, trainer Cody Anderson opted to enter Cool Ventura in a one-mile allowance/optional $40,000 claimer Friday at Northlands Park, and the race drew a competitive group of seven 3-year-olds.

The move serves two purposes for Anderson - a win would restore Cool Ventura's confidence, and he dodges a tougher group aiming for the $75,000 Count Lathum on Aug. 2. The 1 1/16-mile Count Lathum is the major local prep for the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby at 1 3/8 miles here Aug. 23.

Cool Ventura has no early foot and will need some decent fractions to run at to set up his late kick. Garys Buddy, upset winner of the 6 1/2-furlong Western Canada here July 1 in front-running fashion, will undoubtedly be part of the early pace Friday, although his ability to get a mile remains a question mark. I'm Slick Too is the logical candidate to pressure Garys Buddy early, a task he was unable to complete in the Western Canada after getting away to a tardy start and enduring an overland trip.

I'm Slick Too drew inside Garys Buddy again, and trainer Stu Simon sharpened his speed with a bullet half-mile blowout of 48 seconds on Saturday.

Another late closer with a shot is Devonaire Joe.