02/23/2011 3:20PM

Golden Yank tunes up for Razorback Handicap

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Golden Yank will be gearing up for a return to the handicap ranks when he runs Friday in a third-level optional $65,000 claimer at Oaklawn Park. The one-mile race will be his first start since finishing third in the Grade 2 Cornhusker, and his trainer, Gary Thomas, hopes it will be his springboard to next month’s Razorback Handicap.

The six-horse field Friday also includes Dryfly, the winner of the $100,000 Smarty Jones a year ago at Oaklawn; Sebastian County, who is stretching back out around two turns for the first time since 2009; Green Digger, a winner of his last three starts; and It Happened Again and Double Threat, who were each impressive allowance winners last month at Oaklawn.

Golden Yank, a multiple stakes winner of $770,941 who races for Millard Seldin, is a candidate for the remaining handicap races this meet, said Thomas. The Grade 3, $100,000 Razorback is set for March 12, while the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap is on April 9.

“We’d like to try to get him to the million mark,” said Thomas.

Golden Yank will be making his first start since June 26, when he finished 1 3/4 lengths behind winner Shadowbdancing in the Cornhusker at Prairie Meadows. Thomas said the horse had a physical setback following that race, and was given ample time off by Seldin.

“We’ve been getting him ready again, but lost some time with the bad weather,” said Thomas, who ideally would have liked to have one more work in Golden Yank before Friday.

Golden Yank will break from the rail, under Eddie Razo Jr.

“He’s never been a horse with any speed, he’s got to have a pace,” said Thomas.

Golden Yank might get the set-up he needs Friday. Sebastian County and Dryfly are both stretching out to two turns off sprint efforts at Oaklawn. Sebastian County was sixth in the $50,000 King Cotton at six furlongs on Jan. 29, while Dryfly is returning to the distance of his Smarty Jones win off an eighth-place finish in an optional $65,000 claiming sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs Jan. 16.

It Happened Again, Double Threat, and Green Digger all were wire-to-wire winners of two-turn races in their most recent starts. It Happened Again earned a Beyer Figure of 93 for his win in an optional $40,000 claimer at a mile. The number is the best last-race Beyer in the field Friday.