07/19/2007 11:00PM

Lots of early speed in 10-horse Omaha


The key to handicapping Sunday's $50,000 Omaha Stakes at Horsemen's Park is to identify which horse will work out the best stalking trip. The Omaha drew a field of 10, and nearly every horse in the race has been close to or on the early lead in recent races.

The one-mile Omaha has been carded as the last of five races on the program, which concludes this track's annual four-day summer racing festival.

Tepexpan, who invades from Churchill Downs for trainer Leo Gabriel, is the track's 5-2 morning-line favorite. He comes off a second against $50,000 claiming company on June 17 and has been training at Arlington Park.

Dusty Spike, winner of this race in 2003, is one horse who doesn't race up front early. Dusty Spike raced just twice in 2006 - with little success - and made his only start this year in April at Fonner Park in the Dowd Mile Stakes, where he was a distant fourth. Trainer Mark Lee has brought Dusty Spike and Dauger to Omaha from his base in Oklahoma to run as an uncoupled entry.

Joe Six Pack has spent most of the year sprinting, but the stretch out in distance isn't cause for concern. He rallied to be second in an optional claiming race at Keeneland last fall going seven furlongs and has been facing strong claiming and optional claiming company at Churchill Downs.

In the co-featured Skunktail Stakes for 3-year-old Nebraska-breds, Heso should rule a strong favorite. Trainer Kelly Von Hemel has been training Heso at Prairie Meadows and shipping him in for Nebraska-bred races. He has won a pair of stakes in Nebraska this year.

* Plaer's Trump ($4.60) rallied from the middle of the pack to surge clear for a length win in Thursday's opening-day feature, the $28,300 Fantango Lady Stakes for statebred 3-year-old fillies. Plaer's Trump covered the mile in 1:42.60 over a fast track.

Track officials said about 9,000 fans attended the opening-day card.