04/26/2012 2:09PM

Fonner Park: Shadowbdancing, The Nutz aim to win Bosselman/Fonner for second time


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – The Fonner Park season reaches its pinnacle Saturday when a field 10 older horses meet in the $75,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes going 1 1/16 miles.

Shadowbdancing, winner of this race in 2010 and fourth in last year’s edition for trainer Terrel Gore, ships here off a strong second in the Cryptoclearance Stakes at Hawthorne on April 7 in his seasonal debut. Gore brings in Israel Ocampo to ride the 3-1 morning line favorite.

Locally based The Nutz, trained by Steve Hall, won this race in 2008 and won his seasonal bow in the Budweiser-Tondi Stakes here March 10 going six furlongs. He returned in the Dowd Mile on April 7 but rallied too late and was second to Tenth Power that day.

Tenth Power has come back to top form this year, including a powerful 8 1/2-length win in the Dowd Mile last out for trainer Milton Gaede. Tenth Power won the Omaha Stakes in 2010 at Horsemen’s Park and was second in last year’s edition of that race.

The two local horses both offer a late-running style that should make them formidable with a fast pace expected in the Bosselman.

Shadowbdancing, Behold De Buy, Deputy Sparks, and Surplus all have a good deal of early foot and should supply a strong early pace early. Surplus was claimed by Grand Island resident Monte Hehnke for $40,000 off a second-place effort on turf at Santa Anita on March 23 and will race for trainer David Van Winkle on Saturday. He had previously been trained by John Sadler. Surplus has raced primarily on turf or synthetic surfaces and will switch to dirt and a five-eighths mile oval for the Bosselman.

Steve Asmussen will ship in Soul Warrior, the top earner in the field. A lightly raced 6-year-old, Soul Warrior won the West Virginia Derby in 2009 and has amassed more than $650,000 in earnings. Soul Warrior returned to action April 7 with a second in an optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park and should attract a good deal of support at the windows.

Stanley Mankin brings in Wild Jacob, who will be seeking his first win of the year. Wild Jacob is a multiple stakes winner in Iowa and Minnesota. Mankin has a farm south of here in Trumbull, Neb., while maintaining a small stable on the track. Wild Jacob won 5 of 8 starts last year, including the Prairie Mile at Prairie Meadows and the Dean Kutz and John Bullit stakes over Canterbury Park’s turf course.

◗ Diamond Joe will be after his third straight win of the meet for trainer Chuck Turco in the $25,000 Fonner Park Special for 3-year-old Nebraska-bred colts and geldings. Diamond Joe captured the Baxter Stakes in his last start here on April 14, closing from well off the pace to score by a length over open company.