02/07/2012 3:45PM

Oaklawn: Competent looks like shrewd claim for Ice

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Trainer Tim Ice wins at an above-average rate with recent claims, and on Thursday at Oaklawn Park he could enhance his stats with Competent. The horse he took for $25,000 last month looks like a top contender in the eighth, a first-level allowance for 4-year-olds and up. The race will be run over 1 1/16 miles, with a field of eight set to go, including Timely Pursuit, who defeated Competent last out at Oaklawn, and Saratoga Red, who was fourth in the Grade 2 Rebel a year ago here.

Competent will be returning to the first-level allowance ranks after dipping in for a claiming price at Oaklawn on Jan. 19. He finished third in a conditioned claiming route that afternoon, beaten a 1 1/4 lengths by Timely Pursuit. Before that race, Competent had won a $25,000 maiden claiming sprint and run second in a pair of first-level allowance routes, all at Remington Park.

Ice claimed the horse on behalf of Tri-Star Racing and Brent Gasaway.

“The couple of races that he ran over there at Remington, when he stretched out, were very competitive,” Ice said. “He ran second one time to En Passant, and he came back and won for open $25,000 the next start. He’s run some pretty solid races, that horse. But it just looked like this was a horse that could fit in a couple of different spots. We’ll find out.”

Competent raced farther off the pace than usual last out, when he rallied from sixth under jockey Lindey Wade.

“He was stopped down the backside,” Ice said. “Lindey had to wait, wait, wait. I thought he was going to be fifth or sixth, and inside the sixteenth pole he kicked it into another gear and was able to get up for third.”

Competent will be ridden Thursday by the meet’s leading jockey, Terry Thompson. The horse is a 4-year-old colt by Medaglia d’Oro, a multiple Grade 1 winner who stands for a stud fee of $100,000. Competent’s dam is Personal Girl, a stakes winner of 11 races and $366,945. Ice said pedigree was another selling point when it came to claiming Competent.

“How many times do you get a chance to get a Medaglia d’Oro for $25,000?” he said.

Timely Pursuit is stepping back up in class after bursting through a wall of horses to win the $25,000 conditioned claimer Competent exits. The race was Timely Pursuit’s first since June. Channing Hill has the mount for trainer Mike Tomlinson.