08/14/2008 11:00PM

Westerner gets only four horses


EDMONTON, Alberta – The 47th running of the Westerner, a $50,000 handicap that traditionally attracts the top older horses on this circuit as well as some shippers, drew a field of only four.

Racing secretary Fred Hilts slotted the 1 1/16-mile feature as the fourth race at Northlands Park on Sunday, with Test Boy, winner of the Don Fleming last out, the 121-pound highweight under Rico Walcott. Last year, Sovereign Award winner True Metropolitan won the Westerner.

Walcott scored his first stakes win on this circuit by keeping the late-closing Test Boy closer to the pace than usual in the Fleming, and will undoubtedly employ a similar strategy on Sunday.

The Westerner winner may indeed evolve from riding tactics, as is often the case in such a short field.

Test Boy and Hastings invader Shacane (Rickey Walcott) have no early foot, with former Woodbine runner Fuhrever Dancing (Quincy Welch) and Father Jones (Shannon Beauregard) the designated pacesetters.

Father Jones comes off a front-running allowance score and drew the rail in his first venture into stakes company, while Fuhrever Dancing, claimed by Terry Jordan for $60,000 in his last Woodbine outing with this race in mind, drew post 3.

Shacane drew post 2 and comes off his best effort of the year at Hastings, while Test Boy drew outside. Test Boy worked very strongly Sunday, posting a bullet five-furlong move of 59.40.