Updated on 09/16/2011 8:54AM

Echo Eddie gets his track

Benoit & Associates
Dayjur favorite Echo Eddie makes his first start since suffering a quarter crack in July.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - With a quarter crack and an aborted sale behind him, things might finally be looking up for Echo Eddie. One of the elite sprinters in the country when at his best, Echo Eddie returns from a five-month layoff in Sunday's $70,000-added Dayjur Handicap, highlight of the closing-day card at Hollywood Park.

The Dayjur, at 5 1/2 furlongs, was written in the condition book for the turf. But because so much rain fell here in recent days, and more was predicted for the weekend, the race will be run on the main track.

Echo Eddie is adept on both turf and dirt, but he is far more likely to get the firm footing he prefers on a wet-fast racetrack than a waterlogged turf course. He drew the rail in the five-horse field, and there is so much speed in the race, Echo Eddie may be forced to gun for the lead to hold his position.

He might not get it, because Rocky Bar and Gibson County might be just as quick for a quarter-mile, but Echo Eddie is far more versatile than his pace rivals. Both Rocky Bar and Gibson County have just one way of going, and have no aptitude for rallying from behind.

Echo Eddie, however, can sit and pounce, a style jockey Patrick Valenzuela may be forced to utilize. In February, Echo Eddie beat Gibson County, overcoming a similar inside draw, by stalking in third early before moving on to the win in the Ken Maddy Sprint Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Echo Eddie has not run since finishing second to Orientate, the probable champion sprinter, in the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder in July. He came out of that race with a cracked hoof. Then, last month, Echo Eddie was offered at Keeneland as part of a dispersal of bloodstock owned by David and Rita Milch, but he did not meet his reserve and was bought back.

He should be an odds-on favorite in this field.

Gibson County is winless in his last eight starts, including four this year.

Rocky Bar was second to Texas Glitter in the Hollywood Turf Express three weeks ago. His best races have been in turf sprints, as opposed to races on the main track.

Mighty David has lost six straight since a wickedly fast allowance victory here in June. He was fifth in a weak Vernon O. Underwood Handicap last time out.

Slew of the Night has won his last two starts, both against softer company, and though this is a significant step up, he is in good form.

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