08/12/2013 2:16PM

Delaware Park: Brujo de Olleros finds softer spot in Carl Hanford


STANTON, Del. – Brujo de Olleros, a rallying second in the $100,000 Donald Levine Memorial Handicap at Parx in his only 2013 start, tries a slightly easier level on Wednesday at Delaware Park when he heads a field of nine 3-year-olds and up in the $50,000 Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes at one mile and 70 yards.

Under the allowance conditions of the race, Brujo de Olleros will carry 119 pounds and will be ridden by Alex Cintron.

Trained by Richard Mettee, Brujo de Olleros won four of his first five starts while racing in his native Brazil, including the Gran Premio Pedro Pineyrua in his final South American start, which came in January 2012. Brought to the U.S. later that year by Team Valor International, Brujo de Olleros finished fourth as the favorite in the $100,000 Majestic Light Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Monmouth, then finished fourth behind Air Supply in the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes last September on the turf at Belmont Park.

Brujo de Olleros did not race again until June 22, when he rallied from just off the pace in the seven-furlong Levine and finished strongly to fall a neck short of Traffic Light in a race run in a very respectable 1:22.03.

I’m Steppin’ It Up led into the stretch of the Stymie Stakes here last time out before weakening to finish third to Ponzi Scheme. He looks to be the prominent speed of the Hanford, named after the man who trained the great handicap star and Racing Hall of Famer Kelso.

Jose Caraballo will handle I’m Steppin’ It Up for trainer Anthony Pecoraro and will tote 119 pounds.

Russian Greek, who upset a strong optional allowance race field the last time he raced locally, returns to the main track after an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth. Robert Paz rides at 119 pounds.

Tiger Walk came off a short layoff to score by a neck in an allowance route in his most recent start.

Thunder Lord has a win and a second in his last four outings while racing against tough allowance rivals at four different tracks from Thistledown to Mountaineer. A consistent sort, he was beaten a length when third in his recent start at Thistledown in an optional-claiming sprint.

Private Tale, a six-time winner, broke in the air when seventh in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile most recently. While his last two starts have been a bit dull, he has raced with some top-flight company in the past and could be the dark horse of this group.