07/30/2009 12:00AM

Euroears finds rich return spot at Penn National

Photos By Z/Keeneland
Heros Reward comes back on two weeks' rest for the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup.

One horse who has been idle for more than eight months and another who's wheeling back in just two weeks are prime contenders in the richest race in Penn National Race Course's 37-year history.

Euroears, recuperating from an injury that resurfaced when he suffered the first loss of his seven-race career last November, and two-time Grade 3 winner Heros Reward, the beaten favorite at Belmont Park on July 18, should play prominent roles in Saturday night's $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup.

The five-furlong Governor's Cup highlights four stakes on an 11-race program that starts one hour earlier than usual at 5:45 p.m. Eastern. Three of the stakes, including the Governor's Cup, will be contested on turf. The supporting stakes are worth $75,000 apiece.

Euroears, part of a potent uncoupled entry for trainer Brett Calhoun, won the first six races of his career, including the $100,000 Colonel Power turf sprint at Fair Grounds. After eight months on the sidelines while healing from a condylar fracture in his right hind leg, Euroears reaggravated the injury while finishing fifth in an overnight dirt stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22.

Although Calhoun is winning at a 25 percent clip this season, he's just 1 for his last 25 with long layoff types returning in a turf sprint, according to DRF's Formulator.

Heros Reward, who won last year's Governor's Cup as the 2-5 favorite, remains a top-caliber turf sprinter at age 7. He came from seventh to win the Grade 3 Shakertown at Keeneland in April and hit the board in two other graded events since then. Last time out, he changed tactics and dueled on the lead before weakening slightly to finish second as the even-money favorite in Belmont's Grade 3 Jaipur.

Euroears's stablemate Chamberlain Bridge, Yankee Injunuity, and Smart Enough have taken turns beating each other throughout the Midwest and Canada.

Most recently, Yankee Injunuity outlasted 6-5 favorite Chamberlain Bridge by a neck in the $200,000 Arlington Sprint Handicap.

Smart Enough, twice beaten by less than two lengths by Chamberlain Bridge since last fall, comes off a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for a wire-to-wire score over a field that included Heros Reward in the Grade 3 Highlander at Woodbine.

Blue Sailor also looks dangerous. He shows 5 wins and 1 second in his last 6 starts dating back to September.

If the Governor's Cup, which goes as race 5, gets moved to the main track, it would benefit True Quality, who won the Grade 2 General George on the dirt at Laurel in February.

* Greeley's Rocket and Mis Pardner Rules, a pair of Kentucky-based fillies who earned near-identical Beyers on grass dominating their debuts, look difficult to separate in the five-furlong Turf Starlet for 2-year-old fillies (race 2).

* Heros Image, who has been first or second in 6 of 7 starts on turf, and the Larry Jones-trained Dr Large bring sharp turf form into the one-mile Capital City for 3-year-olds (race 3). Both colts do their best running on the front end, which could set things up for a stalker such as Beacon Hill Road.

* Pashito the Che, one of three horses entered by trainer Scott Lake, clashes with stakes winners Great Love and Peace Town in the six-furlong East Hanover Township for 3-year-olds (race 7).