03/13/2009 11:00PM

Our Blaze may be better of pair


STICKNEY, Ill. Nothing new here trainer Roger Brueggemann s horses at Hawthorne Race Course have come off the winter break ready to roll.

Brueggemann was live in the Hula Chief Stakes on Saturday at Hawthorne with Lissa s Star, and has one-third of a six-horse field entered in Monday s featured third race at Hawthorne.

Monday s third is one of two allowance races, one for open competition, the other for Illinois-breds, that highlight Monday s nine-race program, which like Sunday drew an unfortunate number of short fields.

Brueggemann is 4 for 12 so far this season. In 2008, he won 15 races at the spring meet, in 2007, 25. Brueggemann doesn t send a string anywhere for the winter, but rather focuses on getting his stable fit for the earliest weeks of the Hawthorne meet, when the winning is easiest.

The open second-level allowance, to which $25,000 claimers also are eligible, drew six horses, and the Brueggemann barn will be well represented with Heaven s Flame, who drew the rail, and Our Blaze, who breaks from a more favorable post 4. Both horses have similar front-end running styles, but Our Blaze might be both better positioned to use her speed and a better horse in general, at Hawthorne, at least. Our Blaze has won four times, here, wound up the last Hawthorne meet with a big win, and drilled a fast five furlongs prepping for this comeback spot.

If the pace gets too hot, which is possible, late-running and class-dropping Ripe Tomato could be a factor.

Lissa s Star romps

On Saturday, Brueggemann won his fourth race of the 2009 Hawthorne spring season, capturing the $51,250 Hula Chief Stakes with Lissa s Star. The horse ran off the screen, too, burying his nearest rival by 10 3/4 lengths. Lissa s Star showed three works in February, one of them solid, two very fast.

Brueggemann and owner John Carman claimed Lissa s Star for just $25,000 last June at Arlington, and the claim has been a good one. Lissa s Star immediately was bumped up to higher-priced claimers, and wound up winning his final two starts of 2008 for a $50,000 claiming price and under allowance conditions.

Saturday, Lissa s Star was at his best, breaking sharply and going up under jockey Inez Karlsson to press the early pace of rail-drawn Dakota Rebel. The pace was only decent, 46.58 seconds to the half-mile, but Dakota Rebel still caved at the quarter pole, leaving Lissa s Star to fend off a mild upper-stretch challenge from three-wide Shadowbdancing. That he quickly did, drawing clear through the stretch to win in a romp, and going six furlongs in a fine 1:10.16. Shadowbdancing held on for third, clear of the 4-5 favorite, Officer Rocket, who never was in contention.