03/09/2006 12:00AM

Fonner: 'Verzy' seeks to repeat

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Thundering Verzy makes his first start since last July when he defends his title in the $25,000 Ogataul Stakes at Fonner Park against eight other older Nebraska-breds.

Trained by Dan Coughlin for owner Craig Wulf and partners, Thundering Verzy won this race and the President's Cup at Lincoln last year in a six-race campaign. Thundering Verzy is 7 for 9 at the Ogataul's six-furlong distance. He has a career mark of 9-3-4 from 24 starts.

Nearly all of Thundering Verzy's opponents in the Ogataul are also making their first start of the year, and Thundering Verzy should be favored. David Essman will ride from post 8.

High Fleet, trained by Roland Schulz, is the only starter with a race under his belt this year. He was second in a nonwinners-of-four allowance race last Sunday to Subsequently, a two-time winner this year, and may be ready to take a big step forward. R.D. Williams will be aboard from post 5.

The Straw Man captured the Fonner Park Special and the Nebraska Derby last year as a 3-year-old and will make his debut against older stakes company for trainer Ron Wise.