12/18/2009 12:00AM

Ez Dreamer in with statebreds

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PHOENIX - Ez Dreamer, narrowly beaten in several Grade 3 races the past two seasons, takes a significant drop in class to face fellow Arizona-breds when he heads Saturday's $50,000 Cactus Wren Handicap. The 6 1/2-furlong event drew a field of eight.

Owned by Triple AAA Ranch and trained by Kory Owens, the 4-year-old Ez Dreamer has a significant class edge over his rivals. In the spring at Prairie Meadows, he won both an allowance sprint there and the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap. He fizzled to sixth in the Remington Sprint Cup but bounced back to win the $100,000 Premier Handicap at Zia Park on Sept. 13, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 105. That gave his connections enough confidence to try the Phoenix on Oct. 9 at Keeneland. After dueling hard with another sizzler, Fatal Bullet, he finished third, beaten just three-quarters of a length by Fatal Bullet with graded stakes winner Capt. Candyman Can sandwiched between in second. He earned a 102 Beyer.

It's not as if there aren't a couple of issues here, however. First, after his strong Phoenix try he went to Delta Down for the Delta Mile on Dec. 4, but dueled in the slop and gave way badly, finishing last of six. The slop may have been the culprit, or maybe it was the duel. Either way, it's not as if he comes here off a big effort. Second, he will tote 128 pounds, by far the most of his career, and give from four to 15 pounds to some solid rivals. Regular rider Glenn Corbett is aboard the colt, who has won 3 of his 6 main-track starts here.

His main challenge may come from White Spar. A 4-year-old gelding, he had a superb 2008 and was the top

3-year-old sprinter on the grounds, winning 5 of 8 starts, including numerous stakes. Things haven't gone so well in 2009, however. He's yet to win in three starts, finishing fifth in the G Malleah and then 11th in the Phoenix Gold Cup. He hasn't run since finishing a clear second in the Grand Canyon here April 25 but has worked well and has run big off the bench before for owner Dennis Weir and trainer Kevin Lewis. Daniel Vergara will ride at 124 pounds.

The most interesting entrant may be the unbeaten 3-year-old gelding Clean Hit. Like Ez Dreamer, he is owned by Triple AAA Ranch and trained by Owens. He won his maiden smartly here Nov. 14, 2008 and then came back 15 days later to romp in the Arizona Breeders' Futurity. Trouble is, he hasn't raced since. The good news is he has been working in super fashion the past month or so.