02/11/2009 12:00AM

Mr Napper Tandy gets right fit


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mr Napper Tandy was scratched from the $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap at Santa Anita last Saturday because of a slight illness. The timing could not have been better.

The Thunder Road was taken off the turf because of wet weather. Since Mr Napper Tandy was not seriously ill, he has been entered in an optional claimer going a mile on turf on Friday, a race that trainer Jack Carava thinks is a better fit for the 5-year-old.

"He had a little mucus," Carava said. "It was enough that I didn't want to take any chances.

"The quality of this field isn't the quality like the Thunder Road. I think he would have run his guts out and gotten hot and dirty."

Carava is determined to run Mr Napper Tandy on Friday, regardless of whether rain falls. Owned by La Canada Stables, Mr Napper Tandy has run on turf and synthetic tracks throughout this career, faring well on both.

In his most recent start, Mr Napper Tandy was second on a turf course rated good in a one-mile optional claimer on Dec. 27. The winner of that race, Matto Mondo, returned to win the Thunder Road on the main track.

"There was a little give in the ground," Carava said of the Dec. 27 race. "I'll run him either way - turf or [main track]."

Mr Napper Tandy managed just 1 victory in 10 starts last year, an optional claimer on the main track here last November. His last win on turf came in an optional claimer at a mile here in November 2007. Still, his last two races make him competitive in Friday's race, which drew a field of seven.

Asperity, the winner of an optional claimer on Jan. 18, is the only horse in the field who won his last start. Trained by Neil Drysdale, Asperity rallied from sixth in a field of 10 to win by a length, his first victory in 10 starts in the United States.

Cee Bargara, a 4-year-old gelding, was beaten a length by Asperity on Jan. 18, and is part of the field Friday. Cee Bargara is winless in eight starts in this country since last July. A winner on Polytrack in France last year, Cee Bargara is entered for an $80,000 claiming price on Friday, which trainer Dan Hendricks said is a good fit.

"He doesn't have any conditions," Hendricks said.