05/22/2010 11:00PM

Official Affair switches to main track


Official Affair, first or second in his last four starts at distances between five and 5 1/2 furlongs, will remain at one of his best distances but switch surfaces when he seeks to clear his first allowance condition in Tuesday night's feature race at Penn National.

The $32,000 allowance, which goes as race 5 on a card that begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern, drew a field of eight.

The 4-year-old Official Affair, based in Maryland with trainer Ben Feliciano Jr., comes into the 5 1/2-furlong race off a two-length score over conditioned claimers in his turf debut going five furlongs at Pimlico. The last time he raced on dirt at the distance of Tuesday night's race, Official Affair led until deep stretch before winding up second in a first-level allowance at Laurel in early March. He also missed by a head at this same level and distance in January and beat $25,000 conditioned claimers going 5 1/2 furlongs last November.

Now and Zen looks like the horse Official Affair must beat. Trainer Todd Beattie scratched Now and Zen from a seven-furlong race against similar competition on Sunday at Charles Town if favor of this spot at his home track. Now and Zen just missed by a neck in his most recent start at this level in early April and won his previous start by a nose. Three of his four Beyer Speed Figures since joining Beattie's barn early this year have been 77 or 78.

Mr. Commissioner shows three Beyers in his last nine starts that are close to or above the par of 80 for a first-level allowance at Penn National. But as a deep closer, he needs a fast pace to set up his closing kick and is 0 for 15 the past two seasons.

Demand a Favor is another come-from-behind type. He has been off since October and eight of his nine starts last season came on turf. But he has been no worse than second in five starts on Penn National's main track and finished a close second with a 76 Beyer that fits well at this level in his lone start on dirt in 2009 last June.

Not My Problem has been idle since September, but fired fresh when he won his career debut locally by 7 1/2 lengths, defeating 11 maiden special weight rivals, as a 2-year-old last August.