07/13/2011 3:21PM

Ellis Park: Despite steep class rise, beware of Ready's Rocket

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With a change in conditions, Ready’s Rocket might be viewed by some as a “play against” in Friday’s featured seventh race at Ellis Park, a second-level optional $40,000 claiming race at six furlongs.

The reasoning would be twofold. First, Ready’s Rocket is leaving his favorite racetrack, Churchill Downs, where he has won 10 races, a record since Equibase began compiling statistical data in 1991. And second, he is taking a noticeable class hike, jumping all the way up from a $5,000 starter allowance.

Although those concerns are legitimate, it might be wise to think twice against trying to beat Ready’s Rocket. He is the only horse in the race with experience at Ellis Park, having gone 2 for 3 on the main track there, and he retains the riding services of jockey Calvin Borel, who is 9 for 16 teaming up with him.

Trainer Tim Glyshaw, who has trained Ready’s Rocket for much of the past three years, is at a loss to explain why the duo performs so well together. He just knows that they click.

“Calvin is confident in the horse and the horse is confident in Calvin,” he said.

The competition is tougher Friday than what Ready’s Rocket competed against at Churchill this spring and summer, first in beating $10,000 claimers and then taking a starter $5,000 race.

Stakes winners Maybesomaybenot, Sok Sok, and Flavor are in the lineup, although they have not been in peak form in recent months.

Another one of the better horses in the field, Danny, a winner of 3 of 6 starts, is returning from a layoff of more than two years.

Glyshaw acknowledges this is the toughest test Ready’s Rocket has faced in a while, but he feels good about the signals he is seeing from his horse leading up to the race.

“When he’s happy, like he is now, kicking the rail and doing stuff like that in the mornings," he said. “That’s when I know he’s ready.”

◗ Friday’s eight-race card also includes another second-level optional $40,000 claimer, this one for fillies and mares going six furlongs (race 4). Glyshaw starts Backside Blackie in a field that also includes Tiz Rising, a filly who is 2 for 2 at Ellis Park, and promising 3-year-old Garnet Crystals.