03/15/2010 12:00AM

Kruger Park faces stiff competition


Five stakes winners, including four with multiple stakes wins, meet in what could be one of the best runnings of the $18,000 Governor's Speed Handicap on Wednesday at Portland Meadows.

In the companion feature, the $18,000 Willamette River, seven 3-year-olds are lined up to challenge Seven Torrents, the local king of the division, at one mile.

Kruger Park, winner of two straight stakes at Portland Meadows after dominating in sprints at Emerald Downs last spring, is listed at 4-5 in the six-furlong Governor's Speed Handicap. The speedy Kruger Park, who drew the rail, won an invitational handicap on Feb. 24 by 4 1/4 lengths in his first start since capturing the Inaugural Handicap here by four lengths last Oct. 5.

He will be facing defending champion Ex Mountain Cop, who was the runner-up in the Feb. 24 race, and Stealth Attack, who was second in last year's Governor's and the winner of a Jan. 20 invitational handicap.

The real X factor in the field is 5-year-old mare Secret Gypsy, who won the Grade 2 Distaff at Aqueduct one year ago. She has won 5 of 11 starts and placed in two other graded races.

Secret Gypsy has trained steadily for new trainer Michael Puhich in preparing for her first start since a disappointing effort on the turf in the Finney last Aug. 9 at Saratoga.

Shem, a stakes winner going long on turf, makes his first start since he was claimed for $50,000 by Pat Jarvis on Jan. 23. That day, he finished second in a mile race at Golden Gate Fields.

Rounding out the field is Coronas at Delmar, who will make his stakes debut but is 4 for 4 at Portland Meadows, including photo win over Stealth Attack at a mile in his last start.

Seven Torrents, who has won both his starts here as the odds-on favorite, looks dominant in the Willamette River.

The Jim Penney-trained Seven Torrents won the six-furlong OTBA Stallion Stakes on Jan. 18 and repeated in the Feb. 10 Oregon Breeders Derby in front-running style at this one-mile distance.

He's the only runner in the race to have competed around two turns.

Meen Miner, third in the Dennis Dodge here last November, and Regal Mind, 2 for 3 with a fifth in the Dennis Dodge, are the only other runners in the field with stakes experience.

Regal Mind and Hurryin Hoosier come into the race off victories.