Updated on 09/15/2011 1:39PM

On the Game in right spot for local bow


MIAMI - Three months ago the connections of On the Game thought enough of him to test him against the likes of Western Pride and Macho Uno in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby. On Monday the 3-year-old On the Game finds himself in a much cushier spot when he makes his local debut going a mile in an optional claiming race.

On the Game won three of his first four starts, all at his home base at Woodbine, to earn himself a berth in the Ohio Derby. But he found the competition a bit too much to handle, finishing sixth and last after flashing early speed.

After the Ohio Derby, trainer David Bell sent On the Game to Keeneland for the McConnell Springs Stakes, and On the Game finished a late-running second. In his last start, On the Game won an allowance race at Woodbine.

Rene Douglas has the mount on On the Game Monday.

On the Game's ability to run from off the pace should serve him well in Monday's race, which figures to feature an early battle between speedsters Steady Sammy and Go to Harvard.

Steady Sammy has proven he is best around two turns when able to relax on the lead. That's how he upset a slightly softer optional claiming field by 5 1/2 lengths on Nov. 16 after being soundly beaten by a similar group when he tried to rate off the pace 13 days earlier.

Go to Harvard also has a high turn of foot, although he did rate and beat lesser at Hoosier Park earlier this fall. Claimed for $50,000 at Churchill Downs on Nov. 9, Go to Harvard made his local debut a month later in a stakes and was hard used contesting the pace before faltering and finishing fourth in a race won by odds-on favorite Built Up.

Valid N Bold also ships down from Woodbine, and he makes his first start since being claimed by trainer Frank Passero for $57,500 on Dec. 2.

Out of Champagne and My Own Business round out the field.

* Jockey Mark Guidry has been named Calder jockey of the month for December, just a short time after into town in late November. Guidry won 19 races from his first 89 mounts at the meet, including the $100,000 Mecke Stakes aboard Political Attack, one of his four winners on the Dec. 1 program.