04/30/2009 12:00AM

Al Swihart Memorial: Salty Attraction defends


Fonner Park closes out the season with one of most intriguing matchups of the meet, as two-time defending champion Salty Attraction faces Miss Missile and eight others in the $25,000 Al Swihart Memorial Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Salty Attraction made her seasonal bow at Fonner on April 11, running late to finish second by a neck to Slewpy Girl in the six-furlong Runza Stakes. Salty Attraction has won both of her starts at 6 1/2 furlongs. She won this race by 10 lengths in 2007 and came back last year to defeat Lovesablumin by five lengths. Trainer Mike Kirby has named Larren Delorme for a return mount.

Miss Missile, a multiple stakes winner in Canada last year, opened up the Fonner meet Feb. 14 by winning the Bold Accent at a half-mile. Trained by Charlie Smith, she returned to her base in Texas and has been working up to this race at Lone Star Park.

Miss Missile, a 4-year-old, won 5 of her 12 starts last year and pushed her career mark to 11-1-2 from 24 starts and earnings of over $344,000 with her early-season win. A versatile daughter of Golden Missile, she has won at nine distances in her career, ranging from a half-mile out to 1 1/16 miles. She does her best running near the front and will have Damon Leeds aboard.

Salty Attraction should have a good pace to run at with her stalking style, as Runza pacesetter Rare Crystal and the Runza winner Slewpy Girl both return. Gracie Jane and Orphan Kist Stakes winner Dazzling Seville likely will also add to the early speed of this race.