04/03/2008 11:00PM

Chestertown Slew owns back class


It's all about the stamina. Sunday's $30,000 Wildcat Handicap at Turf Paradise brings out the best turf stayers on the grounds, and they will have 11 furlongs to sort themselves out.

Chestertown Slew, who formerly campaigned on major circuits back east, may be primed and ready for the stakes, which lured 10 other older grass horses. The Wildcat is the stepping-stone for the $50,000 Hasta La Vista Handicap, the traditional closing-day event at 1 7/8 miles, to be run May 4.

Trained by Troy Bainum, Chestertown Slew spent the first part of his career racing at such major tracks as Gulfstream, Belmont, Saratoga, and Keeneland, and handled himself well, winning five races, four on the turf. He changed hands after finishing eighth at Keeneland last Oct. 25 and resurfaced locally in the Turf Paradise Handicap. He was slow into stride but found his best gear late and finished well to be fifth, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths. Considering the layoff and the fact that it was his first try locally, it was a nice effort.

Chestertown Slew has been given time since, and while still in the stakes ranks, he's taking a class drop here. With his pedigree (by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew), there's every reason to believe Chestertown Slew can handle this longer trip. Glenn Corbett rides.

Power Strokin can be dangerous. He has won 3 of his last 6, including an optional claimer at about a mile on the turf locally on March 4. Prior to that, he was eighth in the Turf Paradise Handicap, nearly six lengths behind Chestertown Slew. Trained by Ed Kereluk, Power Strokin has done the majority of his work going shorter, but ran second the only previous time he tried this type of trip. Daniel Vergara rides.

Wailea Warrior won the Jim Baker on this course at this trip on Jan. 12, so the 8-year-old is distance-proven. Four of his five career wins have come on this course.

Geririg is the defending champ, but after winning a two-mile race in the slop at Emerald last September he hasn't come back as sharp. He was second to Wailea Warrior in the 1 3/8-mile Baker but has finished eighth and seventh since.