08/13/2008 11:00PM

Marvel Wood tough off last-race Beyer


OPELOUSAS, La. - Sonoma Cat and Missed the Prom are the 118-pound co-highweights in Saturday night's $200,000 Evangeline Mile Handicap, but it is another triple-digit number that may hold the key to the meeting's richest event.

That number is the 107 Beyer Speed Figure that Marvel Wood ran in his most recent start, a $50,000 optional claiming event at Louisiana Downs on July 13. That effort was the first start since the 4-year-old son of Ormsby returned from an unsuccessful three-race trip to the West Coast.

Trained by Eric Guillot for Southern Equine Stables, Marvel Wood did not take to either the Santa Anita turf or the synthetic surfaces at that same track and Hollywood Park, so his connections shipped him back east.

Marvel Wood sports a 5-3-0 record from 11 starts over fast dirt surfaces and also has won one of his two tries over off tracks. With a 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, the wet-track angle could also come into play.

He displayed that fondness for wet footing last week at Louisiana Downs, when he worked four furlongs in a quick 46.80 seconds, the fastest of 53 moves at the distance.

Marvel Wood will be in receipt of three pounds from Sonoma Cat and Missed the Prom. Lonnie Meche, aboard for the win at Louisiana Downs, will ride again.

Sonoma Cat, who defeated Missed the Prom by three-quarters of a length in the $60,000 Oak Hall on July 19, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Mile. A well-bred son of Storm Cat out of the A.P. Indy mare She's a Winner, Sonoma Cat is trained by Steve Asmussen and will be looking for his third win of the summer. Asmussen has given Randall Toups the return call.

Missed the Prom has won three times in 2008, including the one-mile John Henry Stakes here in mid-April. Trained by Keith Bourgeois, Missed the Prom was claimed out of an $8,000 nonwinners-of-three affair last December and has made remarkable progress under the care of this meet's leading trainer. Regular rider Gerard Melancon will be on board again.

Ide Like a Double, the lone 3-year-old in the Mile field, could be considered the hypothetical highweight since he has been assigned 116 pounds and gets a weight allowance for his age. He comes off a distant second-place finish to Star Production in the restricted Louisiana Breeders' Derby at Louisiana Downs last month, a race in which Star Production earned a triple-digit Beyer Figure of his own. Trainer Byron Gilbert has named Kerwin Clark to ride Ide Like a Double once again.