07/08/2010 12:00AM

The Nutz back in HBPA


The Nutz will return to action off a 2 1/2-month layoff when a field of eight older horses meets in the $17,500 HBPA Stakes going a mile and 70 yards Saturday at Lincoln Race Course.

The Nutz turned in his worst race in memory when finishing last in the Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes on April 24. He opened this year with a strong win going six furlongs in the Tondi Stakes on March 20 at Fonner Park. He was then third in the Dowd Mile on April 10 before his last start. The Nutz won this race in 2008 when it was run as the State Fair Board Stakes.

Canyon Drive may vie for the role of favorite as he invades from Indiana Downs for trainer Joe Woodard. A two-time winner at Turfway Park early this year, Canyon Drive is coming off a pair of seconds against optional claiming company in Indiana.

First Class Brass, trained by Kelli Martinez, has rounded into top form here recently and also will bear watching. First Class Brass, the 2007 winner of this race, was a dominant winner over optional claiming company here June 5, then came back to finish second to Reach One More in the President's Cup Stakes on June 25.

From the Ashes, trained by Chuck Turco, was second to Reach One More in the Big Red Mile Stakes here May 31 and will be making his first start since then. From the Ashes, a confirmed front-runner, set the pace and then dueled with Reach One More through the final turn of that race before settling for the runner-up spot.