09/01/2012 3:53PM

Parx Racing: Cactus Charlie gives sprinting another try in Tuesday feature


Cactus Charlie hasn’t had any luck chasing stakes horses such as Rule, Pants On Fire, and Hymn Book in route races. So trainer John Tammaro will change things up by shipping the 5-year-old Cactus Charlie from Monmouth Park to the site of his last victory, Parx Racing, and asking him to shorten to six furlongs for Tuesday’s $50,000 feature.

Winless in nine starts dating to May 2011, Cactus Charlie will try to end his drought when he breaks from the rail in a field of seven entered for a third-level optional $40,000 claimer.

Although Cactus Charlie hasn’t sprinted since finishing fourth in a first-level allowance at Parx in February 2011 and is winless in three starts sprinting, his string of Beyer Speed Figures from last October to July 7 (94-92-89-88) exceed or are close to the par of 91 for Tuesday’s class level at Parx.

In preparation for the cutback from 1 1/16 miles to six furlongs, Cactus Charlie has worked a best-of-33 half-mile in 48 seconds at Monmouth on Aug. 22 and followed up with 48.20 breeze nine days later. Tammaro is 3 for 16 (19 percent) with a healthy $4.73 return on investment with horses switching from routes to sprints following a break of 31 to 60 days. That ROI is inflated by a winner at 26-1.

Counting his last win in April 2011, Cactus Charlie has 2 wins and 1 second in 5 starts at Parx.

Cactus Charlie’s biggest obstacle figures to be the speedy Wild Memories, who is 3 for 3 sprinting on Parx’s main track. Claimed for $16,000 in May, the 5-year-old Wild Memories steps up sharply in class following a career-best 94 Beyer for his 4 1/2-length win sprinting five furlongs in a $10,000 starter allowance in early August.

Adirondack King, one of two 3-year-olds in the field, drops in class after six consecutive starts in stakes. He returns to Parx for the first time since winning three in a row to close his 2-year-old campaign.

Dixie Notion rallied from fifth to get second at this same level last time out. All five of his victories have come at Parx.

The once classy Wildcat Brief, third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh in 2010, runs for a claiming tag for the first time in his 27th start. The 6-year-old Wildcat Brief has not been closer than sixth in three stakes starts this season.