09/21/2010 3:00PM

Long-absent Fast Alex resurfaces in turf route

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – After winning back-to-back route races over the winter at Fair Grounds, Fast Alex was headed into the Louisiana Derby in late March, but the colt took a major detour, both in terms of time and distance. Instead of the Louisiana Derby, Fast Alex’s first start since an entry-level allowance win March 1 in New Orleans comes Thursday at Arlington Park, where he is entered in a one-mile grass race open to second-level allowance horses or $40,000 claimers.

Fast Alex drew post 9 in a full field of 12, with a 13th horse, He’s Bonafide, entered main-track-only for the second time in a week. Who knows if Fast Alex can handle turf, or if he will come back from physical issues the same horse he was over the winter. But Fast Alex might be as good a guess as any in a tough-to-decipher Thursday feature, the start of closing week at Arlington.

Fast Alex debuted with a third-place finish Jan. 23 in the strongest 3-year-old maiden sprint race of the Fair Grounds meet, and he was much the best in a subsequent pair of two-turn dirt races, closing strongly into a slow pace on both occasions. There is little grass in Fast Alex’s immediate female family, but his hot young sire, Afleet Alex, has proven capable of throwing a turf runner. Greg Geier, who trains fast Alex for owner-breeder Jim Tafel, has gotten six Polytrack works into Fast Alex for the colt’s comeback, and Fast Alex may be ready to do some damage – unless Thursday’s start is merely a prep for a Hawthorne dirt race.

Equally unknown on turf is Too Wild for Words, who has won the first two starts of his career in sharp fashion. Trained by Wayne Catalano for West Point Thoroughbreds, Too Wild for Words added Lasix and blinkers Aug. 29 despite having scored a blowout debut win on July 31. Catalano, as usual, knew what he was doing, and Too Wild for Words won again, but both those victories were one-turn Polytrack races, and Too Wild for Words’s pedigree, by Offlee Wild and out of an Editor’s Note mare, does not obviously suggest grass.

But the horse with the strongest recent turf form, Hoodwinked, is moving from Illinois-bred into open allowance competition, and landed post 12 for the Thursday feature. More complications in an already complicated headliner.