02/24/2007 12:00AM

Another Walder claim makes good


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Peter Walder, who has made quite a reputation for himself resurrecting runners through the claim box, brings one of his newest projects to Tampa on Tuesday when he sends out Exclusive Hopper to face nine challengers in the third segment of the fillies and mares division of the Tampa Turf Test. The series of turf races is for runners who have started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2006-07.

Jose Lezcano will handle Exclusive Hopper at 121 pounds as she makes her 16th local appearance.

Walder claimed Exclusive Hopper from a win at the $22,000 level at the Meadowlands, then raced her back for $30,000 and she finished second, beaten just over a length by All Dolled Up, a horse that came back to win her next start.

Off from August to October, Exclusive Hopper returned with a head victory at Belmont for $35,000 going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. She was off for three more months, and then finished second at Gulfstream in another $35,000 claiming route on the turf. The winner of that race, Bridal Path, came back to win her next race.

Walder claimed Exclusive Hopper from Bruce Alexander, who sends out Unleash the Cat on Tuesday. Unleash the Cat is looking for her third win in a row. She will be ridden by Luis Gonzalez at 118 pounds.

Unleash the Cat finished second, beaten less than a length, on the main track in her first local outing, then used her tactical speed to capture an allowance test. Last time, she took the second leg of the Turf Test, rallying from just off the pace to win the 1 1/16-mile race by two lengths.

Alie's Dolly won the first segment of the Test, at a mile, while Bella Bella Bailey comes off a late-running third.

A race to remember

People are still talking about the seventh race on last Wednesday's card, a seven-furlong sprint that may well prove to be the most exciting race of the meeting.

The race featured the fastest half-mile of the meet (44.88 seconds) and a six-furlong clocking of 1:09.88, and the final time of 1:23.27 was less than a second off the track record.

Anglers Reef and Demagoguery dead-heated for the win, and both runners were saddled by Gerald Bennett. It was Demagoguery's fourth win of the meeting, and it was the fourth of the day for Anglers Reef's rider, Daniel Centeno.