08/09/2013 6:13PM

Beulah Park: Ohio-breds in spotlight with two Sunday stakes


Ohio-bred horses will take center stage at the River Downs at Beulah Park meet with a pair of $50,000 stakes Sunday. Both the fifth race, the Horizon Stakes for 3-year-olds, and the seventh race, the Vivacious Handicap for older fillies and mares, are restricted to statebreds.

Uptown Gal comes into the Vivacious off a 5 1/4-length win in the $75,000 Queen City Oaks on July 28 at Beulah Park. Trained by Jim Rankin, Uptown Gal will be turning back in distance − the Oaks covered 1 1/8 miles, and the Vivacious covers 1 1/16 miles.

Although the Queen City Oaks was against 3-year-old fillies, Uptown Gal has won against older horses this season. On April 26, she won an entry-level allowance race at Mountaineer Park going a mile. She also gave a good account of herself against older, open competition when finishing fourth, third, and second in second-level allowance races at Presque Isle Downs in May, June, and July. Gabriel Lagunes retains the mount.

While Uptown Gal will represent the 3-year-old class, Pay the Man is the highweight in the Vivacious Handicap and, at age 9, definitely represents the old guard. The Miguel Feliciano trainee will be giving one to 14 pounds to her 10 rivals.

After a less-than-stellar performance at Tampa Bay Downs in her 2013 debut, Pay the Man was brought north. She finished second in the Mackey Memorial on June 8 at Thistledown going six furlongs in June. In her most recent outing, she finished third in the 1 1/16-mile Petro Memorial at Thistledown, her first loss in seven attempts at that distance. Luis Gonzalez will ride.

Plain Ol’ Willard will look for his second statebred win in his last three starts in the $50,000 Horizon. On June 2 at Beulah Park, the Tony Lowry trainee won the $50,000 Green Carpet for Ohio-breds by 4 3/4 lengths.

In his most recent outing July 7 at Thistledown, Plain Ol’ Willard finished third in the Cleveland Gold Cup. A return to Beulah Park, where he has won three of six lifetime, might help him get back to his winning ways.

Bold Ben comes into the Horizon off a six-length statebred allowance win for trainer Tommy Drury. In four lifetime starts, Bold Ben has two wins, both when Drury was listed as his trainer. Brian Hernandez Jr. will ship in to ride.

Rounding out the field for the Horizon, which covers one mile and 70 yards, are Trulane Jones, Benatlantic, Pyrite Mill, and Lukes Heart.