03/18/2010 11:00PM

Blinkers should keep Thunder Jack straight


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - It's rare to see blinkers added to a horse's equipment following a win, but trainer Bret Calhoun has good reason to outfit impressive debut winner Thunder Jack with the hood for Sunday's ninth race at Oaklawn Park.

"The reason is two-fold," Calhoun said. "It's for him to have a better trip and not give up too much ground, and to keep from causing traffic problems for the other horses.

"The horse tends to lean out a little bit, and he's worked much better with the blinkers."

Thunder Jack won his debut on the front end at Oaklawn on Feb. 6, although he drifted about four to five paths off the rail around the turn. He was wide into the stretch but powered home by 2 3/4 lengths to win the maiden special weight sprint with a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

It is the best last-race number in the race on Sunday, a first-level allowance for 3-year-olds that carries a $50,000 claiming option. The six-furlong race drew a field of 10. Others set to start include Magic Max, who began his career at Del Mar; Perfect Drive, who was the runner-up in a $75,000 optional claimer here Feb. 7; and R Star, who won his maiden in January with a 92 Beyer.

Calhoun said Thunder Jack will add a scoop, or extended, blinker on his outside eye Sunday.

Thunder Jack, who is a son of Golden Missile, races for U P Farms. He has long been well-regarded, said Calhoun, who is winning with 29 percent of his starters at Oaklawn.

"We were pretty excited about him going into his first race," he said.

"He's a big, strong horse. He's a good individual."

Chris Rosier was aboard Thunder Jack for his debut and again has the call Sunday. The horse will break from post 5.

Cejka won his maiden in a Canterbury stakes in his last start Aug. 9, wiring the field. In his final prep for his return, Cejka breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Oaklawn on March 14. Martin Escobar has the mount for trainer Ernie Witt II.

Perfect Drive is the lone two-time winner in the field, having won his maiden at Arlington last July and a starter allowance at Keeneland in October. Chris Emigh has the mount for trainer Steve Hobby.

* Oaklawn will add Wednesdays to its lineup this coming week.