02/26/2009 12:00AM

Bevys Best starting year in Ogataul title defense

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Bevys Best will make his seasonal debut as the defending champion in the $25,000-added Ogataul Stakes for older Nebraska-breds on Saturday at Fonner Park.

The defending champ will be part of a coupled entry for trainer Larry Staroscik with Mike's Pet, and the pair should pack a solid one-two punch with their opposite running styles.

Bevys Best posted a trio of stakes win last year, including both this race and the Budweiser-Tondi Stakes here with his front-running style. Bevys Best is unlikely to have his own way on the lead here with the presence of both Buffalo Road and String of Diamonds.

Buffalo Road has the advantage of a race under his belt this year, taking a front-running win over $15,000 claiming company on Feb. 14. He has drawn the rail and will have Damon Leeds aboard.

The ample speed in this six-furlong test should set up well for Mike's Pet, a four-time winner last year, who does his running from off the pace. Mike's Pet had 4 wins from his 9 starts last year, including the Big Red Mile at Lincoln last summer. Chris Fackler will be aboard Mike's Pet, while Larren Delorme has the mount on Bevys Best.

Trainer David Anderson's four-horse assault on the race is headed by Buffalo Road and also includes Tellin on You, James the Greater, and String of Diamonds. All horses have different ownership and race as separate wagering interests.

* Apprentice Ashley Dill got her first win at a recognized racetrack in last Sunday's closing race, with Live Prospect ($9) for trainer Larry Donlin.

* Lee Sensenbach broke an ankle in a spill during last Saturday's fifth race, sidelining him for several weeks.