07/19/2009 11:00PM

Distance the question for Mootoo


Mootoo could be a vulnerable favorite when he tries three turns for the first time in the feature race at Northlands Park on Wednesday. The one-mile first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up drew eight horses and goes as the seventh race.

Trained by Ron Grieves, Mootoo has started only three times and he's been right there in all of his starts. He finished second to Sales Stakes winner Diamond Doc when he debuted in a six-furlong first-level allowance race May 18. Mootoo won his next start, beating Toby Bay by a neck in a similar race going 6 1/2 furlongs on June 10. Toby Bay returned the favor on June 21, beating Mootoo by a half-length.

With no Toby Bay in the field, Mootoo looks like a standout. But he is out of a mare who was strictly a sprinter and his sire never won a race beyond seven furlongs. His lone sibling to win, Johnny Hollywood, earned most of his $410,041 sprinting. Johnny Hollywood did win a one-mile maiden special weight race over the Woodbine turf course.

Quincy Welch rides Mootoo.

On the other hand, Vindgari figures to improve with the move to a longer distance. He won a one-mile maiden special weight race when he debuted at Belmont Park last September. He is a half-brother to a couple of graded-stakes-winning route horses, Geri and A.P. Arrow.

Vindgari, trained by Cody Anderson, finished third behind Mootoo on June 10 and then had a troubled trip when he finished second in a second-level allowance race on June 24.

Bent Tune is the only other horse in the field with a win at the distance.