12/16/2010 2:53PM

Limestone Edge has had comeback tightener


PHOENIX – Limestone Edge has been competitive with graded stakes horses like El Gato Malo, Rail Trip, and Mast Track, while racing at high-level sites like Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and the major Southern California tracks. But those races came a long time ago, and he took a one-year hiatus, from November 2009 to November of this year. Still, an encouraging return run last month may send him favored in Saturday’s $25,000 Hank Mills Sr. Handicap at Turf Paradise. The mile main-track event for 3-year-olds and upward drew a field of 10.

Owned by Bantry Farms and trained by Michael Ewing, Limestone Edge will be making his first local start. A son of Cat Thief, Limestone Edge was good enough to be fourth in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in 2008, second to multiple Grade 1 winner Rail Trip at Santa Anita in January 2009, and fourth in the Windy Sands at Del Mar in September 2009. But after winning a $40,000 claimer at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28, 2009 – Ewing claimed him from Bob Baffert in that race – Limestone Edge went to the bench.

He came back to rally for fourth in a tough optional claiming sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 14, and he has worked strongly since. New rider Ry Eikleberry said he has never even seen Limestone Edge, but he perked up when he saw the horse’s past performances.

“Well, this will be interesting,” he said.

There are a number of strong challengers in the Hank Mills Sr. Hezamazing easily won the Bienvenidos at this same distance here opening day Oct. 1. He stalked the pace and drew off to win by three lengths. A 5-year-old gelding, he next tried a sprint at Albuquerque on Oct. 17, the Budweiser Special, but found that distance a bit too sharp at that level and finished fourth. He returns to a route, which may be his best game. Wilson Dieguez has the call.

Boundless Cat looks to bounce back after finishing ninth in the Caballos del Sol here Dec. 4. In his prior outing, Boundless Cat led all the way to win the Walter R. Cluer at a mile on the turf here Oct. 23.

Leading rider Jake Barton, who has the call here and was aboard for the Cluer win, said Boundless Cat does not need the lead for his best.

“However,” he added, “if they let me have the lead, I’ll take it.”