Updated on 09/17/2011 10:23AM

Nighthunter appears solid prospect for leading barn


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer of possible Kentucky Derby starter Eye of the Tiger, will run another of his promising 3-year-olds, Nighthunter, at Bay Meadows Wednesday.

Nighthunter returns from a four-month layoff in the six-furlong race, and is trying to win his first allowance condition.

Nighthunter won his debut by seven lengths at six furlongs over a sloppy track at Golden Gate Fields Dec. 21. He'll meet six rivals Wednesday, three of whom are returning following wins and two others who finished second last time out.

"Personally, I like him a lot," said Joe Jacot, Hollendorfer's assistant trainer. "We all believe he has the potential to be a really nice colt."

Nighthunter opened a long lead through modest fractions in his debut, and continued to pull away from the field. He received an 85 Beyer Speed Figure for the win.

Hollendorfer decided he wanted to give Nighthunter time to grow and mature following the race.

"He just wanted to give him time after that race," Jacot said. "He was willing to take time because he wanted things right with him."

Jets Fan figures to be Nighthunter's main competition. Jets Fan has won two straight races and has never finished worse than second in four starts. He won over this track in a $40,000 starter allowance race in his last start.

Post Pattern was disqualified from second and placed fifth in a $50,000 optional claiming race in his last start. He has the best career Beyer in the field, an 87 he earned winning his maiden by three lengths while beating Jets Fan.

Ward wins four

Dennis Ward, who will saddle Granpa Chan in Wednesday's feature, saddled four winners for his son, Wesley, Sunday. It was the first time he'd saddled four winners in a day since 1998 at Yakima.

All four winners led throughout their races.

"I thought the first three were slam dunks," Ward said of Adventurous Guy ($3.20 in the first), Mr. Dillon ($4.40, fifth), and The Seth Bomber ($4.40, sixth).

Ward felt he had a very good chance with Lacrystal Classic ($8.60, eighth) once his key opponent Chosen Honor scratched.

On Saturday, the Dennis Ward-trained Surprise Halo finished sixth in the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile.

"My horse ran good," Ward said. "He had started to make his move around the turn when Ladies Din went by him, then he didn't do much.

"I'm going to run him in a more realistic spot next."