10/06/2011 12:16PM

Parx: Alphabet Soup lures last year's one-two finishers


A year ago, Roadhog and Out in the Reign finished one-two in the Alphabet Soup Handicap while racing over yielding turf. Both horses are back for Saturday’s Alphabet Soup at Parx Racing, but based on their most recent races over the same type of soft turf they relished last season, it would take a major form reversal for either one to contend this time.

Defending champion Roadhog finished seventh in the Maryland Million Turf just a week ago. Out in the Reign, who outran his 36-1 odds to finish two lengths behind Roadhog in the 2010 Alphabet Soup, is coming off an equally dismal eighth-place finish in a first-level allowance a month ago.

If you’re willing to toss those poor performances, however, it’s not too difficult to make a case for either horse in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf race for Pennsylvania-breds.

Roadhog’s Maryland Million flop at 5-2 came not quite two months after his previous start produced a career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure for his close second against statebreds in the Robellino at Penn National.

Similarly, Out in the Reign’s dull race was preceded by a second, worth a career-high 78 Beyer, facing Pa-breds in a first-level allowance at Parx on July 31.

At least Roadhog and Out in the Reign show show good previous form on turf. The track’s 2-1 morning-line favorite, Gunfighter, comes off a 3 3/4-length win in the mud in the Roanoke, but is a combined 0 for 2 on turf and Polytrack.

The best recent grass form belongs to I’m Sure, who has a win and a pair of seconds the last three times he has raced on turf, and Wannabe, winner of a $16,000 claimer two starts ago. Neither horse is very consistent, however. I’m Sure is just 1 for 11 on grass, and the 8-year-old Wannabe, although a six-time winner on turf, is 1 for 15 over the past two seasons.

The 12-horse field also includes the 4-year-old filly Ask Me Anything. Her last two races, one on dirt and the other on soft turf, were poor, but prior to that she won two of her last three starts on grass, including a second-level optional $32,000 claimer at Monmouth Park in her season debut which produced a career-best 81 Beyer.