03/08/2011 4:14PM

Aqueduct: Regal Warrior brings consistency to optional claimer


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Woody Allen’s observation that 80 percent of success is just showing up seemingly applies to a lunch-pail horse such as Regal Warrior, who will almost surely run his race against four rivals in Thursday’s $47,000 optional claiming feature for older males at a mile and 70 yards.

“He’s like Pete Rose – he doesn’t hit a lot of home runs, but he usually gets on base,” trainer Mike Trombetta said of the 4-year-old gelding who has run Beyer Speed Figures of 80 or better in 10 of 11 starts, a streak that began with a nose loss in the Federico Tesio Stakes last May.

Regal Warrior, who has finished in the money in four consecutive outings, will be looking to turn the tables on Hermosillo, who shook loose early and held on for a half-length decision in their one-mile clash here Feb. 21.

That was one of five runner-up finishes for Trombetta-trained runners at the winter meet.

“He ran a good race there last time, but the winner kind of had things his own way,” he recalled.

Hermosillo was the rank outsider at 23-1 while making his first start for Joe Parker last time out, but the 7-year-old gelding got loose early and staved off Regal Warrior to notch his seventh career victory – and first outside of the New Jersey circuit.

Hermosillo may have a tougher time getting clear, because Endymion also has early speed and is drawn on the rail.

Endymoion, the 2009 Jersey Derby winner, has won one of five starts since being claimed in October by owner-trainer Peter Kazamias for a mere $12,500.

African Diamond, who has finished first in three of his five starts on the inner dirt over the past two years, is the slight morning-line choice over Regal Warrior. The 5-year-old gelding matched his lifetime Beyer top of 92 running fourth to subsequent stakes winner Inherit the Gold first time out at the meet. A month later, the Chad Brown-trained gelding returned to post a workmanlike victory over first-level allowance routers as the 3-2 choice.

Indy Scent, an A.P. Indy colt out of the champion racemare Escena, was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by African Diamond in his first-ever start on dirt. Trained by Leah Gyarmati, he comes off a wide trip behind the hard-knocking Marilyn’s Guy just last Wednesday.

Indy Scent’s pedigree indicates a potential fondness for off-going, and Thursday’s forecast called for a 90 percent chance of rain.