03/31/2005 1:00AM

Fonner Park track report


The shippers Our Best Man and Robin Zee should vie for favoritism in Saturday's $30,000-guaranteed Dowd Mile Handicap at Fonner Park. The race is the local prep for Fonner's showcase event, the $100,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner Handicap, which will be run in three weeks.

The race, the ninth on a 10-race card, is part of a $5,000-guaranteed pick five that Fonner Park will offer Saturday as part of its handicapping challenge weekend. The pick five will be offered on races 6 through 10.

Our Best Man comes into the Dowd off a 2 3/4-length victory in the one-mile Down Isle Stakes at Turf Paradise on March 7. Regular rider Adolfo Morales will come in to ride Our Best Man from post 8 under top weight of 121 pounds.

Robin Zee turned in a dismal effort in his last outing, against $62,500 optional claiming company at Oaklawn Park. He was never in contact with the field that day. But the race appears a fluke on his otherwise consistent record. Robin Zee has won 10 of his 35 career starts and has earned nearly $275,000. His trainer, Kelly Von Hemel, will have the riding services of Perry Compton as they attempt to combine for a repeat win in the Dowd. Von Hemel sent out Getaway Holme to victory last year for the same owners, Larry Widman and Russell Hansen.

Robin Zee and Our Best Man both seem to do their best running from near the lead. With the addition of the speedy Prineville in this lineup, a strong rally could be the way to the winner's circle.

George Taylor fits the ticket of a late-runner with the credentials to pull the upset here. Trained by Ricky Gustafson, George Taylor made his seasonal bow here March 12, rallying for second in a six-furlong allowance. That tightener, plus his liking for the longer distance, should make him a solid contender in this race. Nena Matz will be in to ride from post 1 under 116 pounds.