Updated on 09/17/2011 1:28PM

'Papa Sid' deserves favoritism


STICKNEY, Ill. - The six horses in Hawthorne's first race on Tuesday last started at four different racetracks. And that is the simple part of the race.

For a short field, there are all kinds of ways to go here - most of which will be incorrect. But here are the facts: The race is at six furlongs for 3-year-old entry-level allowance fillies, with a $35,000 claiming option that allows Cats Copy into the field. Five others were entered under the allowance condition, including Smart Link, who, like Cats Copy, is trained by Dale Bennett.

These two fillies last raced at Great Lakes Downs, land of the low Beyer Speed Figure. Great Lakes has a bullring track configuration, and plenty of middling Michigan-breds, and speed figures there tend to come up light. Cats Copy's are. She won a $40,000 Michigan-bred stakes in her final 2003 start, but earned only a 47 Beyer.

Bennett, for one, says he thinks Cats Copy is better than that. "I've worked her with some of the nicest horses in my barn, and she's held her own," he said.

Bettors probably will settle on Papa Sids Girl as the favorite, and rightfully so. In her last start, at Keeneland, Papa Sids Girl finished fourth of six, but the filly in front at the finish, Cherry Bomb, is a stakes-level horse from the Todd Pletcher barn. No such animal appears in this spot.

Mystery Giver works for Turf Classic

Mystery Giver worked a satisfactory half-mile on turf here Saturday morning, his last serious exercise before the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Mystery Giver, the only grass worker of the day, was timed in 48.40 seconds over firm going.

"He worked well," said trainer Chris Block. "It was exactly what we wanted."

Mystery Giver notched the biggest win of his career last month in the $500,000 Mervin Muniz Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Prairie Express possible for Shandy

Shandy, an impressive winner of the Chicagoland Handicap here April 10, worked five furlongs Saturday in 1:01, fifth-best of 48 works at the distance. Trainer Richard Hazelton said Saturday that Shandy could make his next start May 1 in the $50,000 Prairie Express Stakes at Prairie Meadows.

"The only reason I wouldn't go in is if Jimmy DiVito's horse [Coach Jimi Lee] goes in there," Hazelton said.

"There's just not too many races for him," Hazelton said of Shandy. "Not at Hawthorne or at Arlington. I'll go someplace with him. He came out of the last race real, real good."

* Carlos Marquez Jr., who had a strong 2003 in Chicago, has returned to town. Marquez, who is represented by Penny Ffitch-Heyes, began accepting mounts Sunday.