07/13/2006 11:00PM

Ohio Smile right back in Hoover off a win

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By virtue of a three-length win in an open maiden in his debut, Ohio Smile will be deserving of favoritism when he takes on nine Ohio-bred juvenile rivals in the $40,000 Hoover Stakes at River Downs at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Ohio Smile, a son of the undefeated Gold Case, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 59 for his maiden win, the highest among the Hoover entrants. Bettors, though, will have a couple of issues to consider before settling on the favorite.

Besides the unpredictability of what might happen when the gates are sprung on a group of lightly-raced 2-year-olds, Ohio Smile also faces a quick 12-day turnaround from his debut, and he will have to do without the services of leading rider Rodney Prescott, who instead will pilot the first-time starter Neil and John.

Neil and John is the mystery horse of the Hoover field. His Turfway works have not been flashy, but he is a son of a win-early sire, Cape Canaveral, and is trained by Wayne Mogge, who has had all 14 of his starters at the meet finish third or better.

Two open maiden winners from earlier in the meet, Prince War On and Patched, can not be discounted, nor can the maidens Dakota's Choice and Runslikeadeere, who will race as an entry for trainer Tim Hamm.

Dakota's Choice was only third in his debut at Thistledown, but earned a competitive Beyer Figure of 52. Runslikeadeere, a distant second first out at Mountaineer, is a half-brother to the 2000 Hoover winner, Step Child.

Lincoln: My Secret Star has experience

My Secret Star, a strong maiden winner here on July 7, heads a field of eight 2-year-olds going six furlongs in the $25,000-added Capitol City Futurity, the closing day feature of Lincoln's 37-day season.

My Secret Star, trained by Milton Gaede, has a strong experience advantage over this field, as he will be making his fifth career start. He made a pair of five-furlong starts at Prairie Meadows, where he was fourth and third, and has been second and then a winner in his most recent start here.

Bumper Bob was beaten a head when he ran third in the State Fair Futurity on July 2 and should also be strongly considered in this spot. He closed from five lengths back entering the stretch of the Futurity and avoided a pair of stretch spills to close well.

Terriella is the only shipper in the field, as he invades from Prairie Meadows off a pair of two-furlong race outings. He won his maiden by a nose on July 4 in his second career start and this will be an interesting stretch out going from a straight quarter-mile race to the two turns of Lincoln's six furlong race.

- Bill Hodtwalker