Updated on 09/17/2011 1:34PM

Pair of shippers top Hancock


A pair of stakes-winning sprinters, one based in Ohio and the other in Maryland, are the leading contenders in Tuesday night's $75,000 Hancock County Handicap, the first stakes of the season for fillies and mares at Mountaineer Race Track.

Gabrieles Princess, coming off a victory over statebreds at Thistledown in her season debut, and Search for a Cure, 2 for 2 in dirt races at five or 5 1/2 furlongs, appear to be the most formidable threats in the five-furlong Hancock.

In her return from a 5 1/2-month layoff, the 5-year-old Gabrieles Princess won the six-furlong Angenora, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 82.

Thistledown-based trainer Rodrigo Madrigal Sr. was 3 for 10 with horses he shipped to Mountaineer for stakes last season, but Gabrieles Princess wasn't among his success stories. She was 0 for 3 at Mountaineer in 2003, including a fourth-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in a six-furlong allowance. She is winless in six lifetime starts at the Chester, W. Va., track.

Search for a Cure comes from the always-powerful Dale Capuano barn. She won 3 of 8 starts last year, including a seven-furlong statebred stakes at Laurel Park. Search for a Cure was a good second in March, an effort worth a Beyer Figure of 87, but regressed when she moved into open stakes company last time out.

Although Capuano had good success shipping to Mountaineer the past two years, winning with 19 of 105 starters, his horses were 0 for 5 in stakes during the span.

The two sleepers in the seven-horse field are Nattitude and Idadidit.

Nattitude won her first start since last July with a Beyer Figure of 86 against first-level allowance horses at Turfway Park, then flashed speed before tiring to seventh when trainer Nick Rennekamp tried her on turf in the 5 1/2-furlong Stravinsky at Keeneland. A repeat of her Turfway race would make her extremely dangerous here.

Idadidit raced in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Illinois last season and won a high-priced claimer in October at Keeneland with a Beyer of 87. She will be making here first start for trainer Mary Eppler. Idle since December, Idadidit shows two bullet five-furlong works at Pimlico since early April.

Pk's Gal has won two of her last three starts, including an allowance sprint at Mountaineer in late March. She would have to improve considerably off her pair of 71 Beyers in those victories to threaten this group.