03/17/2010 11:00PM

The Nutz starting year in repeat bid

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - The Nutz opens his 2010 campaign as the defending champion in Saturday's $25,000 Budweiser-Tondi Stakes at Fonner Park. The Tondi is for older horses at six furlongs.

Also featured on Saturday's 11-race card are the $10,000 Bachman Stakes for 3-year-olds at a half-mile and the $25,000 Orphan Kist Stakes for Nebraska-bred fillies and mares going six furlongs. The Orphan Kist was a victim of last Saturday's cancellation.

The Nutz, 2008 winner of the Bosselman-Gus Fonner Stakes, opened his campaign last year with a win in this race and followed up by winning the Dowd Mile. He was on track to be the favorite for the Bosselman when a foot abscess sidelined him in the days leading up to the race. He made one other start last year, finishing third in the President's Cup at Lincoln.

A pair of stakes winners this year will be awaiting The Nutz on Saturday, as Skwhirl and Kid Rambo are entered in the field of nine.

Kid Rambo sprang a $42.80 upset in the four-furlong Grasmick Stakes here Feb. 27 to record his second victory, both of which have come in stakes. Robert Hoffman has taken over the training duties from Temple Rushton and has named Sam Padilla to ride Kid Rambo, a 4-year-old son of Kafwain.

Skwhirl stormed from off the pace to take the Ogataul Stakes for statebreds on March 6 in his first start of the year. A 7-year-old trained by Bob Rising, Skwhirl has six stakes wins and a lifetime record of 7-7-11 from 49 starts. Jesus Ponce will ride.

Dazzling Seville returns to defend her title in the Orphan Kist. Six were entered, down one starter from last Saturday, as Gracie Jane did not enter back.

Dazzling Seville, trained by Robert Hoffman, makes her seasonal debut after compiling a steady 2-4-0 record from 8 starts a year ago. Dazzling Seville will look to boost her career bankroll over the $100,000 mark. She has always proven tough over this oval with a local record of 4-3-2 mark from 12 starts.

In the Bachman, the majority in the field of nine 3-year-olds are maidens facing the winners Ahbudd, Bach's Homebrew, and C O Ringo. C O Ringo was second in the Club House Special at Columbus last year.