01/19/2012 4:48PM

Fair Grounds: Suntracer steps up to Grade 3 company for Colonel Bradley

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Suntracer (2) looking good defeating fellow 3-year-olds in the Woodchopper two months ago, but now steps up in company for Saturday's Colonel E.R. Bradley.

NEW ORLEANS – The older-male turf ranks at Fair Grounds look thin this season, so much so that a 4-year-old who never has beaten older horses, a New York-bred, and a last-out mid-level claiming winner look like contenders in the Grade 3, $100,00 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap on Saturday.

The 1 1/16-mile Bradley drew a field of eight, but expect only seven to run if the race stays on grass, with Glenwood Canyon expected to scratch in favor of the Louisiana Handicap unless there’s a rain-off.

The 4-year-old Suntracer raced against older horses only once last fall, finishing fourth in a high-level allowance race, but his win over 3-year-olds Nov. 25 at Fair Grounds in the Woodchopper Stakes was good enough to suggest he can factor in the Bradley. Last at the top of the stretch in that start, Suntracer had little trouble running past seven rivals after being pulled wide by jockey Rosie Napravnik. The Team Block homebred trained now by Neil Pessin has run well in all three starts over the local course and is the pick to outkick his Bradley rivals and win his first graded stakes.

New York-bred Mr. Vegas is wintering for the first time in New Orleans, and has won a pair of allowance races in his two starts over the Fair Grounds course. In November, he won a second-level allowance by a head, but beat third-level allowance foes Dec. 31 by one length.

“His last race was his best race,” said trainer Richie Scherer. “He’s a hard horse to ride because he doesn’t rate very well.”

Dubious Miss was second in the 2011 Bradley and third last year in the Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup, but he didn’t win in a race last year until trainer Paul McGee dropped him in for a $35,000 claiming price on Dec. 16. Back on his favorite grass course, Dubious Miss won by a length, and a repeat score in a sub-par edition of the Bradley isn’t beyond his scope.

Saturday

Purse: $100,000; 1 1/16 mile (T)

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Strike Impact

M. Scherer

R. Albarado

4-1

1

Suntracer

N. Pessin

R. Napravnik

3-1

1

Heavenville

A. Milligan

J. Bridgemohan

20-1

1

Dubious Miss

P. McGee

C. Lanerie

8-1

1

Baltimore Bob

C. Autrey

R. Eramia

5-1

1

Lonesome Street

M. Maker

J. Graham

6-1

1

Mr. Vegas

R. Scherer

M. Mena

9-2

1

Glenwood Canyon

A. Stall, Jr.

J. Theriot

5-1