07/11/2008 12:00AM

Hamm has bases covered in Hoover


On sheer numbers alone, trainer Tim Hamm has a nearly 50/50 chance of winning the $50,000 Hoover Stakes at River Downs on Sunday, as he conditions four of the nine Ohio-bred 2-year-olds entered in the 5 1/2-furlong stakes.

Holy Harem seems best suited to give Hamm his sixth Hoover win in the last 10 years. Holy Harem comes off a June 25 maiden victory gainst open company at Presque Isle Downs.

"She has run the fastest 2-year-old race of the Presque Isle meet so far," said Hamm.

Rodney Prescott will ride Holy Harem, the likely favorite.

X's and O's is the other filly Hamm entered in the Hoover. She won an open-company maiden race here June 13 by three lengths.

"She is a full sister to Smarmy, who we had a lot of success with, but he was a slow learner," Hamm said. "It took him several races to know what he was doing. She is definitely more precocious."

Smarmy won the Best of Ohio Endurance in 2007. Anne Sanguinetta will come in from Thistledown to ride X's and O's.

Hamm's other two entrants, Astronaut and Raise the Reward, ran well at Presque Isle earlier this year before running second and third in an open maiden race here June 13.

Hamm's entrants will run as separate betting interests, although they have common ownership.

"If it is a stake of $50,000 or more, you can make a special request to the commission," said Ed Vomacka, the racing secretary at River Downs. "They have done it several times at Thistledown this year, including the Governor's Buckeye.

"When the nominations came out, I requested it. That looked to be the only way we could get six separate betting interests."

Trainer Bill Martin also sends out three with common ownership, Vow to Fly, Music Fan, and Tiger Will, all first time starters. The other two entrants are High Pin and Halmi.