09/12/2001 11:00PM

Waltzin' Storm goes for four


ETOBICOKE, Ontario-Waltzin' Storm will seek his fourth straight victory while stepping up in class in Friday's Woodbine headliner. A field of 10 will line up in the $80,000 optional claimer, which will be contested at seven furlongs on the grass.

Waltzin' Storm, a 3-year-old Storm Creek colt, first showed promise when he finished a close second while beating Strut the Stage here last September in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes. He remained a maiden after his juvenile campaign, though, and was a beaten favorite in his first two turf outings this year, at Pimlico and Monmouth Park.

Waltzin' Storm finally put it all together here July 6 in a seven-furlong maiden special, which he won with relative ease in a time of 1:22.59. He shortened up to six furlongs when he captured an entry-level allowance Aug. 6, and tripled up in a one-mile event for $62,500 optional claimers most recently Aug. 31.

Waltzin' Storm beat older rivals last time, and will face his elders once again on Friday with regular rider Patrick Husbands aboard. Mark Casse trains.

Completing the field for Friday's feature are Spring Barley, Speed Gun, Run Lil Tooch, Hoptuit Bud, Ben the Man, Shelter, Academic, Indian Dan and Super Red. Runaway Love was entered for the main track only.

The Stronach Stable entry of Super Red and Ben the Man bears close scrutiny.

Super Red won the Grade 2 Connaught Cup Stakes here last year gate-to-wire, but is winless in five starts this season. He set a pressured pace before fading to fifth in a recent classified allowance, which was won by the classy Kimberlite Pipe.

Super Red is trained by Malcolm Pierce, who also sends out Ben the Man. Ben the Man was on the U.S. Triple Crown trail early last year, but he hasn't found the mark since he took an allowance race at Aqueduct in the spring of 2000. He was eased the only time he tried the grass at the Big A in November.

Spring Barley and Speed Gun figure to hook up on the front end. Spring Barley equaled the course record for six furlongs when he won a $40,000 claimer here last week, while Speed Gun is coming off gutsy score over $100,000 3-year-olds.

Run Lil Tooch stalked a moderate pace en route to a half-length tally over Miller's Mark in a six-furlong dash for $62,500 stock Aug. 17. He has learned to harness his speed this year, and could have an ideal trip just off the speed.