04/04/2002 12:00AM

'Mountain' takes another crack at Dowd Mile

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Battle Mountain finds himself in a familiar situation coming into Saturday's $35,000 Dreisbach's-Dowd Mile Handicap at Fonner Park, the local prep for the April 27, $100,000 Bosselman-Gus Fonner Handicap.

The 8-year-old Battle Mountain comes into the race still looking for his first win of the year after rounding into form at Oaklawn Park the past few months. The scenario has been nearly the same each of the past two years, the exception being that he now has been running against high-priced claiming company at Oaklawn, not stakes and allowance rivals.

But Battle Mountain still has a late kick, evidenced by his last out going a mile. He rallied from 23 lengths back to be beaten two lengths while third in a $35,000 claimer March 22.

The training duties for Battle Mountain shift to Kelly Von Hemel in Nebraska. Perry Compton will ride the 122-pound topweight from post 3.

Battle Mountain won this race in 2000 and was a fast-closing third behind High Dice and Buzz Bar a year ago.

Von Hemel will also send out Rub, winner of the Pepsi Sprint Handicap two weeks ago, and Tate's Way, winner of the Ogataul Handicap here March 9. All three will be uncoupled in the wagering.

Rub came to Fonner Park from Turf Paradise and captured his first win of the year in the 6 1/2-furlong Pepsi Sprint after facing mostly optional claiming company in Arizona. He looks to be more of a miler and should be near the pace in this race. He breaks from post 1 under Ken Shino.

High Dice, owned and trained by Herb Riecken, made a late run in the Pepsi Sprint and is the defending champion in the Dowd. Dan Beck has the ride from post 7.

Sol Che Sorgi comes in from Santa Anita but has not raced since the end of January when he was fourth against $62,500 claiming company. Sole Che Sorgi has been winless the past two years while racing in California.

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