05/05/2010 11:00PM

Hotep gets back on Polytrack


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The road to the $1 million Queen's Plate on July 4 begins in earnest Saturday, when Hotep meets four other 3-year-olds in the $100,000 Wando Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine.

Hotep is a full brother to last year's Plate winner, Eye of the Leopard. Both are Sam-Son Farm homebreds by A.P. Indy, but they are two different types, according to trainer Mark Frostad.

"They don't look anything alike," Frostad said. "Eye of the Leopard was a big, gangly horse who was a little one-paced. Hotep is more compact, and he has a little more speed."

Hotep won at first asking going long here on the Polytrack in October and then finished a fading fifth in the Coronation Futurity before wintering at Fair Grounds. He romped in an optional claimer on the dirt there Feb. 1, before ending up 10th in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes.

Most recently in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 27, Hotep mounted a mild bid on the far turn but never reached serious contention after getting bumped early in the stretch. Frostad said the colt ran greenly in that nine-furlong Kentucky Derby prep.

"He got banged around a little bit and was on the bridle and off the bridle all the way around," Frostad said. "They had watered the track pretty heavily, and a lot of stuff was coming back. In the race that he won there, it was a much smaller field, with not nearly as much" kickback.

Frostad said Hotep has trained encouragingly since returning to Woodbine.

"He's fit and ready to go," Frostad said. "I think he's better on Polytrack."

Frostad's other major Plate prospect, Giant's Tomb, will meet older opposition in Saturday's fourth race, a second-level optional claimer. Giant's Tomb has been working with Hotep.

"He's a very relaxed horse, so you can put him anywhere," Frostad said. "He'll wait until you give him the word. That makes him a danger, especially going long. He seems like he'll go all day."

Also entered in the Wando are Bears Finish Line, Just Call Me Roger, Joey's Best, and Alcomatch.

Bears Finish Line won the slower split of an April 17 maiden special weight sprint. He could link up on the lead with Just Call Me Roger, who is exiting a front-running allowance triumph.

Joey's Best has been laid up since his Nov. 28 victory in the restricted Kingarvie Stakes.