08/02/2007 11:00PM

Wild Cycle faces inside test


AUBURN, Wash. - Wild Cycle and Call on Carson, the first two finishers in last month's Tacoma Handicap at a mile, will be rematched at 1 1/16 miles in Sunday's $65,000 Seattle Slew Handicap for 3-year-olds.

Wild Cycle came from fourth position to win the Tacoma by 1 1/4 lengths over Call on Carson, who was coming off back-to-back wins in the six-furlong Auburn Stakes and the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi-Cola Handicap. The loss in the Tacoma snapped a three-race win streak for Call on Carson, yet he ran a remarkable race after hesitating at the start, getting away very slowly, and racing wide on both turns.

"Hopefully, we got all our bad luck for the year out of the way in that race," trainer Dan Markle said. "He never got beat by as much as he was left by, so I've got to think he'll be tough if he breaks good this time."

Wild Cycle also has a license to improve, however. Wild Cycle came into the Tacoma off a single sprint prep and was probably still shy of his very best form. Sue Villyard, who is running her husband Aubrey's barn while the trainer recovers from an illness, feels that will no longer be the case Sunday.

"He's doing great," she said. "I think he has some room to move forward off his last race."

One question the Villyards were not anxious to have answered must be answered Sunday. As chance would have it, Wild Cycle has raced on the outside in all seven of his races, including his three wins. He drew the rail post in a field of eight for the Seattle Slew and may have to deal with traffic for the first time.

"In all honesty, I don't know how the inside post will affect him," Villyard said. "If I had to guess, I'd say he'll handle it fine. He has gotten to be such a professional, I'd be surprised if anything bothers him."

The two stakes winners are expected to receive stiff challenges from the Jim Penney-trained entry of Jamaica Bound and Get You, who finished one-two in a fast one-mile allowance race here July 21, and from newcomer Media City. The Grant Forster-trained Media City is coming off a three-race Churchill Downs campaign that netted a second and a first against maiden special weight company and a third to allowance rivals.