12/08/2010 4:27PM

Homerun Berti has versatile speed

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Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will have to make a judgment call on how to ration Homerun Berti’s energy following the start of Friday’s eighth race at Fair Grounds.

“He can show speed if you want him to, and he can also take back and sit off it,” said Steve Margolis, who trains Homerun Berti. “We’ll let him get out of the gate, have Brian ride after the break. Sometimes, you can’t really handicap until they break.”

Homerun Berti will start from the rail in the $40,000 optional claimer at six furlongs. The race has second-level allowance conditions, and it will share a card with the $30,000 Kudzu Juvenile.

Homerun Berti has started from either the rail or post 2 in six of his last seven outs, and has won three of those races. Margolis added blinkers to his equipment in August, and since then Homerun Berti has gone 2 for 4.

“He’s been really consistent his last few starts and we’re looking forward to this race with him,” said Margolis, who trains the horse for the family of Richard, Bertram, and Elaine Klein.

Homerun Berti, whose dam, Allamerican Bertie, was a multiple Grade 2 winner of $799,235, last raced on the Breeders’ Cup Friday undercard at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. He was second by three-quarters of a length in an allowance at seven furlongs, and raced with the pace throughout. Homerun Berti figures to again be prominent on Friday, with perhaps his lone pace rival being Dance Caller.

Dance Caller will break from post 7 in the field of seven. He won a $40,000 claiming race wire to wire at Churchill in his last start Nov. 18. Miguel Mena has the mount for trainer Tim Glyshaw.

Others in the field include Backtrack, who returns to the overnight ranks after racing in a pair of stakes. He is 2 for 3 at Fair Grounds, while both Homerun Berti and Dance Caller will be making their first starts in New Orleans.

◗ The Kudzu, the first race on the card,is for 2-year-old Alabama-breds at 5 1/2 furlongs. B.G.’s Admiral, a maiden who was third in his career debut last out at Delta Downs, could go favored. He will be cutting back from a mile, and to win he will have to run down Beulah Park invader Jazz’n Jive.