03/11/2010 12:00AM

Gracie Jane seeks first stakes


Gracie Jane heads a field of seven Nebraska-bred fillies and mares when she makes her season debut in the $25,000 Orphan Kist Stakes at six furlongs at Fonner Park.

Gracie Jane won 3 of her 7 starts last year, never finishing worse than third, but is still seeking her first stakes win. She finished second in this race last year and was also third in the Runza Stakes and second to Miss Missile in the Al Swihart Stakes.

Gracie Jane ended last season with a second-level allowance win at Lincoln in May, then went on the shelf for the rest of the year. Regular rider Chris Fackler returned to the state this week and will be aboard for trainer Jim Cranwell.

Dazzling Seville, the winner of this race last year, makes her season debut for trainer Robert Hoffman. She made her last start in June, when she won the Matchmaker Stakes at Lincoln. She has the tactical speed to be near the front.

Deputy's Whirl also comes off a long layoff. She has not raced since falling in the Al Swihart Stakes here on closing day last year. Racing out of the 6 1/2-furlong chute, she ducked around the retaining guard and went headfirst over the inner rail, flipping into the infield. Other than several cuts, she escaped serious injury but was given the rest of the year off. She is a multiple stakes winner for trainer Bob Rising and a half-sister to Skwhirl, who won the Ogataul Stakes here last weekend.

Real Battleaxe, trained by Ron Westermann, has a race under her this year and should be part of a contested pace. She failed to threaten in the Bold Accent Stakes at a half-mile here opening weekend but should improve in the Orphan Kist.