04/22/2007 11:00PM

Napinowaan can get best of six foes


CALGARY, Alberta – Napinowaan should be favored when he faces six rivals in a third-level allowance sprint in Wednesday’s seventh race here at Stampede Park.

A 4-year-old gelding, Napinowaan just missed in his seasonal bow at this six-furlong distance on April 8 when he finished third, beaten a neck, and is expected to improve off that effort.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro needed to get another work into Napinowaan, an Illinois-bred son of Indian Charlie, and ventured forth last Friday despite the three days of wet snowfall that had the cones up for training each morning.

Napinowaan was one of just two horses to brave the elements and worked five furlongs in 1:09.80 over a surface clocker Cliff Sletten rated as muddy.

Rickey Walcott will stay aboard Napinowaan, who drew post 2 and figures to gain a good position in the run to the first turn in a field lacking much early foot.

Napinowaan tested stakes company on three occasions here last year after opening his campaign with an allowance victory.

Frontier Express has been working up a storm, including a pair of bullet moves, and is a candidate to make the lead in his first start on this circuit.

A son of Carson City, Frontier Express showed speed in his races at Turfway Park and Churchill Downs and drew post 6 with Real Simard in the irons.

Notreehugger, claimed for $15,000 out of a win in a second-level advance here April 7, is moving way up in class, indicating trainer Dale Saunders liked what he saw in the lightly raced 5-year-old gelding.

Leading rider Quincy Welch was aboard for the win and retains the call on Notreehugger, who drew the outside post.