07/17/2002 11:00PM

Wake at Noon still tough as 5-year-old

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Abraham Katryan will take a stab at both Woodbine stakes on Saturday when he sends out Wake at Noon in the $133,375 Bold Venture Handicap, and Runaway Love in the $106,000 Izvestia.

Wake at Noon should be favored in the Bold Venture, and will solidify his status as the country's top sprinter with a win in the 6 1/2-furlong dash.

Wake at Noon recorded three consecutive stakes victories in the spring before running 10th of 10 in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont. He was also a nonfactor in a subsequent stakes on turf, but he rebounded with a decisive score most recently in the allowance prep for the Bold Venture.

Katryan admits that Wake at Noon may not be as good as he was in 2001, when he placed in several graded stakes in the United States, but he was encouraged by the 5-year-old's last performance.

"I was pretty pleased with his last race," Katryan said. "I just wanted to see him get back to his old self on the dirt. His Beyer Figures haven't been the greatest this year, but they haven't made much of a difference to my pocketbook."

Todd Kabel retains the mount on Wake at Noon, the 124-pound highweight.

Completing the Bold Venture lineup will be Sambuca on Ice, Saratoga Prince, Jab, and Colebrook Ruckus.

Jab, a rapid 6-year-old, is a new shooter to the local stakes scene. Jab has competed all over the eastern United States, winning eight of 25 starts and amassing earnings of $262,316.

Jab has won three of his four appearances at this stand. His most recent outing, on June 28, resulted in a six-length tally in a six-furlong dash for $80,000 optional claimers, for which he got a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

Trainer Scott Fairlie said he would prefer running Jab at a shorter distance.

"I'd rather see him at three-quarters," Fairlie said, though he didn't consider 6 1/2 furlongs "a big problem. It might depend on how the race sets up."

Despite the class hike, Fairlie believes Jab will give a good account of himself on Saturday.

"He's in good shape," Fairlie noted. "A lot of the other horses in the field are running back quickly, so hopefully, he'll have a little bit of an advantage. He's getting 10 pounds from Wake At Noon, and has the highest Beyer."

- Win City, Canada's reigning Horse of the Year, will meet Runaway Love and four others in the Izvestia, a 1 1/16-mile race for older Canadian-breds.

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