06/17/2009 11:00PM

Colonel Rutledge looks to build on last start


Colonel Rutledge looks to return to his 2-year-old form when facing five other 3-year-olds in the $100,000 Tall Ships at Presque Isle Downs on Saturday evening.

Trained by Graham Motion, Colonel Rutledge won both of his races last season, a maiden race and the Ellis Park Juvenile, making him the only stakes winner in the field. Both victories last year were under the tutelage of trainer Ken McPeek.

In his first race this season and first for Motion, Colonel Rutledge ran fourth in the $150,000 Blue N Gold at Charles Town. In his most recent out, the son of Orientate ran second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths in the $100,000 Marine at Woodbine. The winner of that race, Awesome Rhythm, came back to win the $150,000 Victoria Park at Woodbine by 8 1/2 lengths and has won three stakes in a row.

"We had this race in mind after the Woodbine race - it seemed a logical place to go," Motion said. "He is doing great, and the extra week really helped."

Colonel Rutledge has trained at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, which has a Tapeta surface like Presque Isle.

"He handles it well," Motion said. "It seems like if they handle one of the synthetics, they can usually handle them all."

Heart of a King has won 3 of 4 over synthetic surfaces, most recently an allowance race at Presque Isle. He has yet to run two turns, and the one mile and 70 yards of the Tall Ships will be his first try.

Anaan turns back in distance when facing seven other 3-year-old Pennsylvania-bred colts and geldings in the $100,000 Lil E. Tee. Trained by Dan Peitz, Anaan comes into the race off a win against older horses at Belmont Park and signaled his readiness with a bullet five-furlong work in 1:00 at Belmont last Saturday.

Juke Joint is a perfect 2 for 2 locally, winning at first asking as a 2-year-old and then winning the Send More Money, both by impressive margins. The Lil E. Tee will be the first race of the season, but he has been working extremely well over the Presque Isle surface. Dale Beckner will ride for trainer Lonnie Stokes.

Whistle Pig has won 4 of 6 locally and will try to enhance his record when facing six others in the $75,000 Presidentialaffair Handicap for older Pa.-breds. Trained by Andrew Carter, Whistle Pig is winless this year, but a return to Presque Isle and the six-furlong distance should be a plus.

Remain Silent will be the early speed in the race, having raced almost exclusively going five furlongs on the turf for trainer Michael Pino. Remain Silent has won 2 of 3 races at the six furlongs.

In the final race of the evening, the $100,000 Malvern Rose for Pa.-bred 3-year-old fillies, Puddy de Luca faces nine others in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. Trained by Robert Reid, Puddy de Luca has won 3 of 4 this year, with her only loss coming in the $64,000 Fall Aspen at Belmont Park on May 15.