05/18/2010 11:00PM

Hartman gets off to hot start


Trainer Chris Hartman is making an impact in his first season at Prairie Meadows.

Through the first 16 days of the meet, Hartman has won with 10 of 29 starters (34 percent) and $150,966. He is tied for second in the trainer standings with last year's top trainer, Lynn Chleborad, and two behind Chris Richard.

Hartman came to Prairie Meadows from Sunland Park in New Mexico, where he won three consecutive training titles before finishing second this year with 40 wins from 209 starts.

Hartman said he moved his barn to Prairie Meadows this year after spending last spring and summer at Lone Star Park because "the extended Thoroughbred meet format makes it easier for me to go on to Remington Park after the meet ends."

Hartman has brought in a live barnful of horses showing past performances all over the Southwest and California. When asked about these conspicuous invaders, Hartman said: "The cost of racing in Southern California is a bit higher. If a horse is not competing at the very high end, it is more feasible to put them in an environment where they are in better condition to win."

* With Terry Thompson and Tim Doocy missing from the Prairie Meadows jockey colony, the race for leading rider is up for grabs.

Alex Birzer sits atop the standings with 25 wins, one ahead of Ramsey Zimmerman, who won four races on Monday and two more on Tuesday. Glen Murphy is third with 23 wins.

Murphy and Zimmerman are riding regularly at Prairie Meadows for the first time this year.