04/13/2009 12:00AM

Big Red Hope on way up for Broome


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Big Red Hope, a former $10,000 claimer, has gradually progressed to the point that he could be favored to defeat second-level optional claiming and allowance opposition in Wednesday's $46,000 main event at Gulfstream Park.

Big Red Hope, a son of Concorde's Tune, was unraced at 2 and made just two starts at 3. He finally won his maiden dropped in against $10,000 rivals last summer at Monmouth Park. It was a confidence-boosting victory, off which he has moved forward with every successive start for owner-trainer Edwin Broome.

Big Red Hope's Beyer Speed Figures improved from 69 on graduation day into the low to mid-80s when he registered a pair of starter allowance victories last fall at Philadelphia Park and the Meadowlands. They have gotten even better since his arrival in south Florida this winter, as he has sandwiched 96 and 97 Beyer performances around a troubled third-place finish on the turf during the current session.

"I don't think he ever really was a 10," Broome said of his claiming level. "But he had so many problems every time I ran him at the beginning of his career, I just got a little disgusted and put him in for the 10. It took awhile to get the kinks out of him, but now he just keeps on getting stronger and stronger."

Big Red Hope should trip out nicely breaking from the outside on Wednesday.

"He has a tendency to break slow when down on the inside like last time," said Broome. "This is a perfect post for him."

The biggest question mark in Wednesday's six-furlong headliner is Blue Pepsi Lodge, who has not started since finishing second in Calder's five-furlong Hooting Star Stakes on Aug. 9. The 7-year-old has changed hands since that outing, switched to the barn of trainer Joe Calascibetta by owner Chester Bishop.

Blue Pepsi Lodge, who ran off five consecutive victories that included a pair of stakes wins from Dec. 2, 2007, through April 26, 2008, is perfect over the local strip, where he easily handled lower-level starter allowance company, earning a career-best Beyer of 102 early last winter.

Blind River Fox ships down from Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the Pelican Stakes in his 2009 debut. The victory was the 22nd for Blind River Fox, who has finished worse than third just once in 23 previous starts at six furlongs.