01/29/2011 12:38PM

Guerrero has a hit with Paydirt at Parx


Paydirt didn’t appear to be much of a prospect after he lost the first seven races of his career, even when he was dropped to near the bottom level for maiden claimers. But trainer Carlos Guerrero saw a few things he liked and was willing to risk $12,500 to claim Paydirt on behalf on one of his primary clients, Joey P Stables, last August.

In six starts since coming to Guerrero’s high-percentage stable, Paydirt has been solid, winning four times, including three consecutive starter allowance races between October and January.

The 5-year-old Paydirt now gets a class test when he steps up to tackle first-level allowance company going 1 1/16 miles in Monday’s co-featured ninth race at Parx Racing.

Guerrero, who missed tying for the leading trainer title at Parx in 2010 by one win, claims a lot of horses and has won with a remarkable 58 percent of them first time out over the past two seasons. Among them was Paydirt, who came from off the pace to get up by a half-length when moved up to face $25,000 maiden claimers in his first start for his new connections in early September.

“I looked at him and he seemed sound and he looked good, so I claimed him,” Guerrero said.

During the break when Parx was closed, Guerrero took Paydirt to a farm in south New Jersey, where he said workout times for five furlongs typically go in about 1:03.

“This horse went in 1:01 and change, and I said ‘Wow. We got something here,’ “ Guerrero said.

Racing exclusively in starter allowance company, Paydirt has been off the board only once, winning his three most recent races by a combined 13 lengths with consistent Beyer Speed Figures of 76, 75, and 77. He will have to run faster on Monday to reach the Beyer par of 85 for a first-level allowance at Parx.

Among his opponents are Heritage Hall, who steps up in class following back-to-back wins against $12,500 starter allowance foes; On Vacation, a former Bill Mott trainee who makes his first start for Tony Dutrow; and No Equipment, who earned a career-best 84 Beyer two starts ago while racing over a sloppy track. Of that group, On Vacation looks dangerous after consecutive bullet four-furlong works at Parx within the past two weeks.