08/23/2010 11:17AM

Hey Elvis tackles much tougher in Harry Brubaker

Benoit & Associates
Liberian Freighter (above) and One Track Mind are expected to set the pace in the Brubaker.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Since his arrival in the United States from his native Australia, Hey Elvis has raced three times in claiming races, winning twice. Hey Elvis is stepping into a stakes race for the first time on these shores when he races on Wednesday at Del Mar in the $75,000 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes, but his sharp recent form makes him a formidable opponent against a group of past stakes runners trying to recapture their glory days.

Hey Elvis comes off a powerful win going a mile over this course in a high-priced claiming race, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for a 2 1/4-length victory that saw him fly through the final quarter-mile in a bit more than 23 seconds under the meet’s leading rider, Rafael Bejarano. That was his first start since being claimed by trainer Doug O’Neill from trainer Mike Mitchell for $32,000. Hey Elvis is meeting far stronger competition on Wednesday, but O’Neill, the meet’s leader, thinks he is up to the challenge.

“He’s got tons of class from Australia,” said O’Neill, pointing out that Hey Elvis ran in group and listed stakes races before coming here. “He had some bleeding issues in Australia. After we claimed him, Mike was nice enough to tell us what he had been feeding him. We’ve done a couple of sessions in a hyperbaric chamber at Vladimir Cerin’s place. He’s doing very well, and Bejarano rides him well.”

Seven others are entered in the Brubaker, run at 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf course here. Hey Elvis figures to get a good stalking trip, with One Track Mind and Liberian Freighter the most likely to take up the early running.

One Track Mind has made 18 of his 19 lifetime starts on the main track, but was a front-running winner of a first-level allowance at Santa Anita in January 2009 in his lone start on turf. He finished third while racing for an $80,000 tag in an optional-claimer at Hollywood Park in his last start on July 15.

Cayambe finished third last time out in the California Dreamin’ Handicap. The runner-up from that race, Colgan’s Chip, came back to win here on Sunday.

Oil Man is making his third start since returning in May from a layoff of more than six months. He is facing softer after finishing last of eight in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park in his last start.

Late-running Quindici Man is winless in six starts this year, but often has been compromised by a lack of pace. He should have far more pace at which to run in the Brubaker.