04/27/2010 11:00PM

Jack's Wild a factor at lower level


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Nearly three years have passed since Jack's Wild was a force in the turf mile division for statebreds.

This year, trainer Jorge Gutierrez would be happy if Jack's Wild wins an optional claimer, such as Friday's seventh race at Hollywood Park.

"The horse has been doing great, but the last few races have been over his head," Gutierrez said. "I think at this level he should be tough."

In 2007, Jack's Wild won stakes at Santa Anita and Bay Meadows and placed in two other stakes. This year, Jack's Wild is winless in four starts.

Gutierrez has switched riders for Friday's race, replacing Brice Blanc with Felipe Valdez. The move is designed to get Jack's Wild into contention sooner. In recent races, Jack's Wild has been at the back of the field early. In a $25,000 claimer at Santa Anita on April 1, Jack's Wild finished fourth, closing to within 1 1/2 lengths of winner Skellytown.

"I think the change of rider will help," Gutierrez said. "You've got to get him into the race."

Jack's Wild, who is entered for a $25,000 claiming price Friday, is part of a field of six in a race over 1 1/16 miles on turf. The program begins at 1 p.m. Pacific

Owned by Ben Warren, Jack's Wild, 8, has won 4 of 36 starts and $375,370. He missed all of 2008 because of a tibia injury, Gutierrez said. Jack's Wild made one start for trainer Clifford Sise in 2009 before returning to Gutierrez's stable last fall. Jack's Wild was a troubled fourth, beaten a length, in a $32,000 claimer in his comeback in January.

"Ability-wise, he's not the same horse as a few years ago," Gutierrez said. "When I ran him in the $32,000 claimer, that was a salty field. There were nice horses, and he had no room to get through. Obviously, he's getting older and smarter. We have to get him to finish. He fits at that level, if we can get him to run.

"I think what I've seen the last few times, he should be competitive," he said. "I think it's more a confidence level."

Jack's Wild must catch the promising Thorondor, a 4-year-old colt who is making his sixth career start after finishing third and second in two similar races over a mile on turf earlier this year at Santa Anita. Trained by Darrell Vienna, Thorondor has one victory in five starts.

Vienna said the longer distance of Friday's race will help Thorondor.

"I think he's a nice colt," he said. "The farther he goes, the better he'll be."

Vienna said he expects Thorondor to be near the front, but says Thorondor is not committed to that style.

"In his races, there hasn't been a lot of pace," Vienna said. "I think he's going to be rateable in the future."

Compari back in training, eyes Shoemaker

Compari, who was withdrawn from Sunday's Inglewood Handicap because of concern over the condition of an ankle, was deemed fit to resume training earlier this week after undergoing precautionary X-rays, trainer Marty Jones said Wednesday.

Jones said the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park on May 31 is a possibility for Compari, who has won six consecutive races, including three stakes at Santa Anita earlier this year.

"Everything looked all right on the horse," Jones said. "We want to be safe. We took some X-rays of the ankle and he looks good."

Compari was the morning-line favorite in the Inglewood. Owned by John Harris, John Nicoletti, and Don Valpredo, Compari, 4, has won 6 of 7 starts and $422,640.