Handicapping the CFL stretch run | Football | CBC Sports

CFLHandicapping the CFL stretch run

Posted: Friday, October 14, 2011 | 11:02 PM

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The Blue Bombers and the Alouettes are among the favourites in the closest Grey Cup race in years. (Jason Halstead/Canadian Press) The Blue Bombers and the Alouettes are among the favourites in the closest Grey Cup race in years. (Jason Halstead/Canadian Press)

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If famed Woodbine race announcer Dan Loiselle were calling this year's race for the Grey Cup as it heads around the final turn, he'd be hanging out of his little booth screaming "There's a stampede at the head of the stretch!"

That there is. And heading for the line it's the closest race in many years.

Here's the morning line on the five contenders, one outsider and two pretenders for the 2011 Grade 1 Grey Cup Stakes.
If famed Woodbine race announcer Dan Loiselle were calling this year's race for the Grey Cup as it heads around the final turn, he'd be hanging out of his little booth screaming "There's a stampede at the head of the stretch!"

That there is. And heading for the line it's the closest race in many years.

Here's the morning line on the five contenders, one outsider and two pretenders for the 2011 Grade 1 Grey Cup Stakes.

1. La Chanson des Alouettes, 4-1
2011 starts: 14 (9-5-0)
Jockey: Anthony Calvillo
Trainer: Marc Trestman
Owner: Robert Wetenhall Thoroughbreds
Synopsis: This Quebec-foaled beauty is a multiple Grade 1 stakes winner who has fallen just slightly off the pace this year. Best jockey in the field continues to set records. Having some troubles defending track position due to large number of nagging injuries. Runs best on its home track. U.S. trainer always seems to find a way to be there at the line. Constantly in danger of having the stewards throw the inquiry flag for rough riding.

2. Blue Bombers' Revenge, 5-1
2011 starts: 14 (9-5-0)
Jockey: Buck Pierce
Trainer: Paul LaPolice
Owner: People of Manitoba Stables
Synopsis: Not normally known as a fast starter, this blue and gold liveried colt blasted from the gate and led through the first turn. Came back to the field after suffering some bumps and bruises, but refuses to quit. Knows how to defend its track position. Jockey can be injury prone but looks as though he'll hang on through the stretch. Gaining home track advantage is key. Great support from local punters.

3. Wally's World, 8-1
2011 starts: 14 (8-6-0)
Jockey: Travis Lulay
Trainer: Wally Buono
Owner: David Braley Stables
Synopsis: Stumbled out of the gate and nearly unseated its rider. This is a B.C. bred stallion that has shown serious finishing speed in the past. Finding good position into the stretch has been a problem, but not this time. Found a new lease on life and caught the field from way back. Colt's a little fractious at times, and prone to damaging errors of judgment. One of two Braley mounts in the race.

4. Man in the Black Hat, 8-1
2011 starts: 15 (8-7-0)
Jockey: Henry Burris
Trainer: John Hufnagel
Owner: John Forzani Sporting Stables
Synopsis: Could be well in front coming into the stretch if the colt would stop kicking itself in the hind quarters. Jockey has an annoying habit of handing the whip to other jockeys for no reason. When this colt runs at its best, no other horse can touch him. Doesn't always do that. Defends track position well. Toughness could make a difference right at the wire. Occasionally asleep at the switch. Double Blues took a big bite out of butt as it was leaving the track scratched.

5. Soul of the Inuit (10-1)
2011 starts: 14 (8-6-0)
Jockey: Ricky Ray
Trainer: Kavis Reed
Owner: People of Edmonton Frozen Thoroughbreds
Synopsis: Into the first corner neck and neck with Blue Bombers' Revenge, but since has settled into the middle of the field to wait for developments. Inexperienced colt not expected to challenge in this year's race, but enthusiasm has made up for a lot. Used to being bullied out of position by other colts though this time has shown he can fight back. Smart, veteran jockey knows how to bring the mount home if it's in good track position into the final furlong.

6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Kat (15-1)
2011 starts: 14 (7-7-0)
Jockey: Kevin Glenn
Trainer: Marcel Bellefeuille
Owner: Bob Young
Synopsis: Fractious colt can't make up its mind if it wants to lead, follow or just get out of the way. This Hamilton-bred runner shows flashes of brilliance mixed with Sunday riding stable dreaminess. Far too willing to give up key track position to the other horses, and that's surprising given Mr. Kat is a big thoroughbred. Finishing close, but out of the money, is beginning to wear on the punters who support this runner. They don't know whether to hold their money or bet the Daily Double.

7. Double Blues (SCRATCHED)
2011 starts: 15 (4-11-0)
Jockey: Steven Jyles
Trainer: Jim Barker
Owner: David Braley Stables
Synopsis: Southern Ontario bred was out of its league most of the way, and eventually scratched coming around far turn. Jockey change three furlongs in didn't help, but at least the rider isn't ignoring the horse any more. Trainer trying to run the stable and look after the colt at the same time may be causing distractions. Helped stable mate by biting Man in the Black Hat. Shows promise if this blue blood can learn to run nearer the front out of the gate in future. May see a shake up in the stable at the end of the fall meeting.

8. Regina's Nag (99-1)
2011 starts: 14 (4-10-0)
Jockey: Darian Durant
Trainer: Ken Miller
Owner: Rider Nation
Synopsis: This formerly handsome thoroughbred turned into a sway back gelding somewhere between jockey's up and the starting gate. Green and white silks hiding a horse of a sickly colour. Only entry in the field ridden by the owners. Change in trainer wasn't any help. Definitely claimer quality in the summer and fall meeting. Considering a name change to Dog's Breakfast. Last seen, horse, rider, trainer and owner were arguing about who's in charge.

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