Article published on 13 October 2010

Showdown Expected in Mt. Sassafras Stakes at Woodbine

Mt. Sassafras Stakes at Woodbine tonight
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Even though there's a chance trainer Danny Vella will scratch his charge Field Commission from this evening's $100,000 Mt. Sassafras Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse in Toronto, fans are hoping he stays put.

Because if he does, he'll go up against Smokey Fire which means they will be able to watch two of Woodbine's finest sprinters going head to head over seven furlongs. The race has attracted a field of six 3-year-olds and up.

If Field Commission is scratched from the Mt. Sassafras Stakes, he'll likely run in Saturday's $500,000 Nearctic Stakes. Named 2009 Canadian Champion Sprinter, Field Commission is still winless in six starts this year.

However, in good form, it was only after Field Commission ran poorly in his most recent race - also a seven furlong outing - that it was discovered he had 'flipped his palate' which required minor throat surgery to correct.

And he is reportedly in great shape ahead of tonight's race. Smokey Fire, meanwhile, made waves at Woodbine in July this year when he impressively dispatched the very quick Hollywood Hit in the Bold Venture Stakes.

And, despite struggling on dirt in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (Gr 1) at Saratoga, he came back to win the Play the King Stakes (Gr 2) at Woodbine, crossing the line first by a neck over Jungle Wave and Fatal Bullet.

So with Smokey Fire and Field Commission the first and second favourites respectively in tonight's Mt. Sassafras Stakes, fans could be in for a real treat. The only other threat in the race is previous stakes winner, Ice Bear.

Here is the complete field and odds for the $100,000 Mt. Sassafras Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse tonight:

  1. Smokey Fire (ON) 8/5
  2. Field Commission (ON) 5/2
  3. Ice Bear (ON) 3/1
  4. Daniel Be Good (ON) 6/1
  5. Lady's First Cat (ON) 10/1
  6. 6 R Shining Hope (ON) 15/1
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