07/26/2006 11:00PM

Fairmount: Wildwood Hat Trick shortens up


Wildwood Hat Trick's most recent efforts, in a pair of one-turn miles at Arlington Park, were good ones but not his best. In late June, he finished a solid third in the restricted Springfield Stakes. More recently, he was a fading fourth in allowance company after being pressured into setting a fast early pace.

The $40,000 Pete Condellone Memorial, the feature at Fairmount Park, affords Wildwood Hat Trick a prime opportunity to rebound by allowing him to do what he does best: sprint.

Wildwood Hat Trick is half of an entry expected to be favored in the Condellone, a six-furlong stakes for Illinois-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings. The Condellone attracted just four other betting interests, and the one horse who could keep Wildwood Hat Trick out of the winner's circle is his entrymate, Ww Kooky Monster.

Of the two, Wildwood Hat Trick has the edge on class. He has also been a more consistent sprinter, finishing first or second in all three of his attempts at less than a mile. Both geldings have sharp early speed, however, and it might prove difficult to keep one far from the other early on. Throw in the possibility of another front-runner, Mr. Canyon Run, adding fuel to the pace, and the Condellone could be ripe for the taking by the horse with the best closing kick.

Of those likely to rate behind the leaders, Smooth Cart seems strongest. He is a three-time winner in four starts over the Fairmount strip, and he won a handicap there two weeks ago.