03/29/2012 3:10PM

Oaklawn, Little Bird, Spadra head Rainbow divisions


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – There will be a double Rainbow at Oaklawn Park on Saturday.

Little Bird gets a rematch with Primetime Dreamer in the $60,000 Rainbow for 3-year-olds, while Spadra seeks the second stakes win of her career in the $60,000 Rainbow Miss for 3-year-old fillies. Both races are at six furlongs and restricted to horses bred in Arkansas.

Little Bird has long targeted the Rainbow – a rare stakes option for horses bred in Arkansas – with his Fair Grounds-based trainer, Mike Burgess, racing him exclusively at Oaklawn this meet. The horse has made three starts here this season, including a maiden special weight score against statebreds on Feb. 17.

“Our whole focus has been this race,” said Burgess, who trains Little Bird for Richard P. Hogue Jr. “That’s why he’s there, and there’s not been trips to the Fair Grounds.”

Little Bird opened his season with a second-place finish in a maiden special weight sprint Jan. 20. He then won his maiden at a mile, before finishing fifth last out in a first-level allowance for Arkansas-breds March 9.

“I thought backing him up and running him 5 1/2 furlongs last time would sharpen him up for the Rainbow,” said Burgess. “He’s really the type of horse who wants to run two turns. I thought putting some speed in him would help. He’s come back since then and worked sharp. I think he’s definitely on his game.”

Burgess said he looks for Little Bird to be a little closer to the pace than he was last time, when he closed from eighth to finish 3 3/4 lengths behind probable Rainbow favorite Primetime Dreamer.

Little Bird will break from the rail under Terry Thompson.

Primetime Dreamer is 2 for 3 at the meet, winning a maiden special weight for statebreds Jan. 20, then the first-level allowance over Little Bird two starts later on March 9. He is part of a seven-horse field in the Rainbow. Alex Birzer has the mount from post 7, for Patti Turner and trainer Stanley Roberts.

Spadra, who won her maiden in the $50,000 Lady Razorback for 2-year-old fillies bred in Arkansas last September at Louisiana Downs, has had two starts at the meet. She was third in a first-level allowance for statebreds in her seasonal debut Feb. 10, then came back and was third at the same level one start later, beaten four lengths on a sloppy track March 8.

“I didn’t get what I wanted from her work prior to her second race,” said Lynn Whiting, who trains Spadra for Keith Jacobs. “I thought she might be good enough to win. I was disappointed she didn’t run a little better, [but] the track was a little off that day. She did come back and work well.

“I think she’s very capable in this spot, so hopefully we can get her number up.”

Spadra will break from the rail under Birzer.

“She’s tactical,” Whiting said. “She should be in the race, and she can finish.”

A full field of 12 will go in the Rainbow Miss.