08/02/2012 3:45PM

Columbus: Versatility should help C. O. Al in Hall of Fame


C. O. Al may go as a slight favorite when an evenly matched group of 3-year-olds goes six furlongs in the $10,000 Hall of Fame at Columbus on Saturday evening.

C. O. Al, trained by Jim Compton, won over the track this year when he rallied from off the pace to beat older rivals for a $5,000 tag July 26, the opening night of the season. He has won two straight while showing the versatility to be on the lead or come from the back of the pack. A son of Aldebaran, C. O. Al has put together a 3-1-3 mark from nine starts this year, including a pair of allowance wins.

Also sure to attract plenty of attention at the windows is newcomer School’s Out, from the barn of Kelli Martinez. Previously trained by Bret Calhoun, School’s Out broke his maiden for a $50,000 tag at Churchill Downs on May 12 with a front-running win by 3 3/4 lengths. He returned against $40,000 company and failed to mount a rally going seven furlongs, finishing fifth by 8 1/2 lengths June 8 at Churchill.

Trainer Brent Janssen sends out Pedernales off a good third against older $10,000 company at Horsemen’s Park on July 14. Pedernales is a three-time winner in Texas this year while running against lower-level claimers and deserves consideration here.

Chuck Turco sends out Black Jack Vision off a distant second to stablemate Diamond Joe in the Skunktail Stakes at Horsemen’s Park on July 20. Black Jack Vision set a slow pace going a mile that day but could not go with the winner in the lane. The turn-back in distance and not having to face his stablemate, who has won seven straight races, should make Black Jack Vision a strong contender here.