05/25/2010 11:00PM

Pair of invaders bring graded stakes power


Digger and Liam's Dream, two horses who played prominent roles in graded stakes earlier this season, will visit Penn National Race Course for the first time on Friday night during a program featuring three stakes.

The 6-year-old Digger, second after leading until deep stretch of the Grade 2 General George Handicap in February, heads a field of nine older sprinters in the $60,000 Changing Times at six furlongs.

Liam's Dream, winner of the Grade 3 Cicada in New York last time out in March, returns from a two-month layoff in the Wonders Delight, one of two $75,000 stakes restricted to Pennsylvania-breds on the card.

Digger, winner of the Gravesend Handicap over Aqueduct's inner track and the Fire Plug at Laurel in his first two starts this season, has been off since flashing his usual high speed and fading in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in early April. With his regular trainer, Bruce Brown, serving a 30-day suspension for a medication violation, Digger is being handled by Dominic Giglio Jr., who owns a 3-for-88 record as a trainer the last five years, including 0 for 4 while subbing for Brown this month.

Digger's toughest competition in the six-furlong Changing Times (race 5) figures to come from

Secretintgelligence and Toulouse Lautrec.

The 7-year-old Secretintelligence finished third in a four-horse field in this race last year, part of an 11-race campaign in which he won sprint stakes at Delaware Park and Philadelphia Park. He makes his second start off an extended layoff for

Delaware-based trainer Tim Ritchey.

Toulouse Lautrec, a distant fifth in his lone previous appearance at Penn National last season, won a high-priced optional claimer at

Aqueduct in his first start as a 4-year-old in January and most

recently finished second in the

Vincent Moscarelli at Delaware. Like Digger, Toulouse Lautrec also has a trainer change because of a suspension. David Cannizzo, a former assistant to Dale Romans who has not started a horse in his own name since 2008, is taking over for Bruce Levine, who began a 15-day suspension last weekend.

Liam's Dream owns a distinct class advantage over her 11 rivals in the six-furlong Wonders Delight for 3-year-old fillies (race 6). Based in New York with trainer Tony Dutrow, Liam's Dream is 3 for 4 lifetime, with her only loss coming when she was third in the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream in January.

If Liam's Dream fails to fire off the layoff, the leading contender to pull the upset is Listen In. She won the Blue Mountain Stakes at Penn National last November and comes off a runner-up effort facing open company at Philadelphia Park 3 1/2 weeks ago.

The six-furlong Danzig for 3-year-olds (race 8) is the most wide-open of the three stakes. Six of the eight horses won their most recent starts, including Gator Bay, who got an 81 Beyer Speed Figure for defeating five statebred rivals in a first-level allowance on May 7, and Belle's Notion, awarded an 80 for his eight-length score over maidens on April 24.

Trainer Bernard Houghton has an uncoupled entry, headed by Turbo Speed, the winner of the Pennsylvania Nursery last fall and third going two turns in the Count Fleet at