12/18/2010 11:51AM

Familiar foes meet in feature race


Familiar foes Ready or Not and Philly Bound, both of whom have shown a distinct fondness for the main track at Penn National Race Course, will clash for the fifth time this season in Monday night’s featured fifth race, a one-mile event open to second-level allowance runners and $25,000 claimers.

The rivalry between the two geldings began in October 2009, when Ready or Not romped by 6 1/2 lengths over a sloppy track in a third-level optional $20,000 claimer, posting a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Philly Bound was third, a neck behind runner-up Phil the Brit.

The first two meetings this season between the 5-year-old Ready or Not and the 4-year-old Philly Bound were extremely close, with Ready or Not finishing a neck in front of his arch-rival as the second-place finisher in June and getting up by a head in a winning effort at the same level as Monday night’s race going a mile and 70 yards in July.

Philly Bound, whose main success has come in starter allowances, turned the tables in late August, winning by 3 1/2 lengths, but then gave an uncharacteristically poor performance when the two horses met most recently, beaten nearly 36 lengths in early October.

Trained by Mark Shuman, who shows a 3-for-7 record the last 30 days at Penn National, Philly Bound is 7 for 17 lifetime at Penn National and 2 for 19 everywhere else. He will be ridden for the first time by Angel Arroyo.

Ready or Not has been off since winning at this same level by 2 1/4 lengths on Nov. 5. He is 7 for 13 lifetime at Penn National but 0 for 6 out of town. His trainer, Brandon Kulp, is 8 for 29 (28 percent) with route runners returning from a break of 31 to 60 days.

Both Ready or Not and Philly Bound are entered for the optional $25,000 claiming tag.

The nine-horse field also includes Preachin Heat, who rises substantially in class off a winning effort when claimed for $8,000 and is 3 for 4 lifetime at Penn National; Final Freedom, a stretch-out sprinter coming off a five-length win at his home track, Finger Lakes; and Perfect Footprint, who ran second at this same level last time out, but is stuck in post 9, a spot that has produced just 13 winners in 183 starts in one-mile races locally the past two years.