03/19/2008 11:00PM

Lovesablumin gets short field


Lovesablumin will face just four rivals in the $10,000-added Runza Stakes at Fonner Park, but the company could not have come up much tougher.

Lovesablumin has an edge in having already made two starts this year, including a one-length win over statebred rivals in the Orphan Kist Stakes here March 1. Trained by Terrell Hemmer, Lovesablumin will have Beth Butler aboard.

The fitness advantage could prove crucial for Lovesablumin, as her main rival, Salty Attraction, will be making her first start of the year in this spot.

Salty Attraction had a 4-2-1 record from 10 starts last year, including a runner-up finish in this race and a romping 10-length win here later in the Al Swihart Memorial. She is trained by Mike Kirby and may go off as the favorite despite making her season debut. She runs well on this surface, as evidenced by the fact that three of her six wins came over this track.

Salty Attraction's final tune-up for Saturday's race was a bullet half-mile in 49.60 seconds on March 13. Perhaps tellingly, Larren Delorme, who rode Lovesablumin in the Orphan Kist, switches over to Salty Attraction for this race.

Nikki Nine, trained by Kim Veerhusen, is a multiple stakes winner and also bears watching. She was fourth in this year's edition of the Bold Accent and returned with a second in optional claiming company on March 7. She should be a major player in the early pace.