03/12/2011 1:55PM

Parx: Grade 3 winner Despite the Odds rounding back into shape

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Tom Keyser
Despite the Odds will be seeking his first win since taking the Grade 3 Hill Prince in June 2009 when he runs in Tuesday's Bensalem.

As a 3-year-old, Despite the Odds was good enough to win the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park, finish second in a pair of two-turn stakes at Monmouth Park, and place fourth despite a troubled trip in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga.

Not much has gone right for Despite the Odds since then, but the now 5-year-old seems to be rounding back into form for the second start of his current form cycle in Tuesday’s $75,000 Bensalem Stakes at Parx Racing.

Despite the Odds must concede two to eight pounds to his five rivals as the 124-pound highweight in a group of older sprinters going 6 1/2 furlongs in the featured ninth race.

Limited to just three starts in 2010, Despite the Odds returned from an eight-month layoff to miss by a neck to the 4-year-old stakes winner Nathan’s H Q in a third-level optional $80,000 claimer at Gulfstream Park a month ago. Despite the Odds earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for his effort and shows two sharp workouts for trainer Mike Trombetta since then, including a bullet three-furlong move in 35.40 seconds on Saturday at Laurel Park.

Horse-for-the-course Wink At the Girls, making his first start for Penn National-based trainer Murray Rojas, and New York shipper Jack On the Rocks, winner of the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint last fall, are the prime challengers to foil Despite the Odds’s bid to win his first race since June 2009.

Aside from his most recent start in late January, from which he was claimed for $40,000, Wink At the Girls has been a model of consistency, with 3 wins and 2 seconds in his previous five races. Rojas, the second leading trainer at PennNational, shows a 4-for-10 record with runners she has shipped into Parx off a break of 31 to 60 days. Overall, Wink At the Girls has been no worse than second in 12 of 17 starts at Parx.

Jack On the Rocks, second in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct in November, comes off a wire-to-wire win in a second-level optional $50,000 claimer at Aqueduct in which he earned a 91 Beyer. His trainer, Gary Gullo, is 3 for 7 with horses he has shipped to Parx.

The field also includes Billy One Lite, who steps up in class looking for his third straight win after a 4 1/2-length score in a third-level optional $40,000 claimer, earning a 95 Beyer that is the best last-race figure in Tuesday’s field. The 4-year-old Billy One Lite has won 4 of 6 since he was claimed by trainer Harold Wyner for $15,000 in October.