08/13/2012 1:21PM

Woodbine: Canadian Navy ready for next step up

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The lightly raced 3-year-old Canadian Navy might be poised to clear the first allowance condition on Wednesday night at Woodbine in the 1 1/16-mile feature.

Canadian Navy, a $105,000 yearling purchase by the popular sire Pulpit, closed strongly for second behind future stakes winner Incredicat when he debuted in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special Dec. 4.

Following a winter layoff April 27, Canadian Navy graduated convincingly here in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special. He has been idle since May 27, when he wound up third after setting soft fractions in a nine-furlong allowance won by Colleen’s Sailor, who returned to finish fourth in the Queen’s Plate. Runner-up Patrioticandproud eventually took the Toronto Cup Stakes after ending up second in the Victoria Park Stakes.

Patrick Husbands will ride Canadian Navy for trainer Jose Carroll, who has worked him six times since early July. On July 30, he breezed five-eighths in a snappy 59.80 seconds.

Stunning Split raced wide throughout in his first allowance attempt July 8, and was never in contention as the second choice. He was previously in solid form in maiden special company, while earning Beyer Speed Figures in the high 70s.

Justin Stein inherits the mount on Stunning Split from Husbands. Malcolm Pierce trains Stunning Split, a Sam-Son Farm homebred.

One Big Gator finished 15th in the 2010 Queen’s Plate. He has plunged into the selling ranks several times since then, including a three-length tally in a tough $20,000 claimer July 29, for which he got an 81 Beyer Figure.

Steve Bahen takes over from Husbands on the John Ross-trained One Big Gator.

Head Honcho, eighth in the 2011 Plate, dropped a nose decision to One Big Gator when he came off the sidelines in an Ontario-sired allowance May 2. Three weeks later, he defeated the upwardly mobile Ultimate Destiny in another restricted allowance route for nonwinners of three.

Head Honcho stuck to the turf in his two most recent excursions, finishing second and fifth in a pair of open allowances.

The unbeaten Heathcote is getting a genuine acid test in his first venture outside the Ontario-sired ranks. He earned Beyers in the mid-60s in his three triumphs, which were all going 1 1/16 miles in maiden and allowance company.

Nanaimo is winless since last August, when he defeated Ontario-sired allowance opposition over nine furlongs. He came on late for third in a slow-placed allowance sprint following a freshening July 28.

Completing the field are Hurry Up Alan and Awake AT T Wire.