06/18/2013 1:52PM

Hollywood Park: Strong Wind returns with eye on Del Mar

Benoit & Associates
Strong Wind won the Graduation Stakes (above) last year at Del Mar, and he is being pointed to the Real Good Deal there on Aug. 2.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Strong Wind won the Graduation Stakes for 2-year-old California-bred sprinters at Del Mar last summer.

Getting back to that race meeting has been a goal for Strong Wind’s owners and new trainer Mark Glatt, who took over care of the colt earlier this year.

Strong Wind makes his 3-year-old debut in a $54,000 allowance race over six furlongs at Betfair Hollywood Park on Thursday. From Glatt’s perspective, the allowance race would be an ideal comeback race – if Strong Wind had not drawn the inside post in a field of six.

“I’m just sick he drew the rail,” Glatt said. “It’s a crummy spot to be in first time back and in a race with a lot of speed. No one understands how hard it is to win from the rail sprinting.”

Owned by Gino Roncelli and Bill and Sue Tomasic, Strong Wind has won 2 of 9 starts and $141,360. The colt had a busy 2-year-old season with trainer Steve Knapp.

Following the Graduation, Strong Wind was third in the I’m Smokin Stakes a month later and ninth in the California Cup Juvenile in October. In his final start of the year, Strong Wind finished eighth of 11 in the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park in December.

The goal this summer is the $200,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds over seven furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 2.

“He trains well and does everything right,” Glatt said. “We’ll see where we are after this race. Hopefully, we’ll have a horse we can point to the Real Good Deal Stakes.”

Gary Stevens rides Strong Wind for the first time Thursday.

The field has one other stakes winner in Know More, winner of the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs in his career debut at Del Mar last August. Trained by Doug O’Neill, Know More is winless in his last six starts and was second in his 2013 debut in an optional claimer for 3-year-olds sprinters here May 23.

Strong Wind and Know More must beat Freakin Rocket, who won his debut in a $75,000 claiming race for maidens on May 18 by 9 3/4 lengths. Trained by Tim Yakteen, Freakin Rocket is likely to be favored.

Strong Wind could be pressured early by Derringer and Tizaplayer, who each won his last start.