12/17/2011 1:22PM

Parx: Westover Wildcat has done it before


Westover Wildcat, who began his 4-year-old campaign in January by winning a third-level optional $40,000 claimer at Parx Racing, will try to end his season the same way in Monday’s featured eighth race at the suburban Philadelphia track.

Locally based with trainer Tony Dutrow, Westover Wildcat is the logical choice going six furlongs under the exact conditions in which he scored by a half-length as the even-money favorite on Jan. 4. He is among four horses in the field of 10 entered for the optional $40,000 claiming tag.

Westover Wildcat has been off since finishing second as the even-money choice against similar competition at Delaware Park in late October. The nearly two-month absence should not be a problem. Dutrow is 17 for 31 (55 percent) with sprinters returning from a break of 31 to 60 days at Parx the past two seasons.

Frankie Pennington reunites with Westover Wildcat for the first time since their January victory. Pennington is 2 for 2 aboard Westover Wildcat, who will break from the rail.

Westover Wildcat’s most dangerous opponent might be Fordangsure, a 4-year-old who is drawn to the far outside and also is making his first start since October. In his first try at this level, Fordangsure encountered some trouble, yet still finished second, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. His trainer, Mike Trombetta, is 7 for 15 (47 percent) with sprinters back after a break of 61 to 180 days in optional claiming events.

The field also includes Needtogetpaid, a winner at this same level last time out, and Whistle Pig, whose 17 lifetime victories include seven stakes against Pennsylvania-bred company between August 2007 and September 2009.

The 5-year-old Needtogetpaid, first or second in 6 of 7 starts since he was claimed for $20,000 in June, is seeking his third straight win since early November.

Whistle Pig, now 7, is just 1 for 12 this season, but that victory came last time out, when he rallied from 13 lengths behind after the opening quarter-mile to get up by a half-length in a second-level optional $25,000 claimer. He will run for the $40,000 tag on Monday.

Duke of Naples has made 10 straight starts on turf since winning his maiden in March 2010. But he merits respect shipping in from New York for high-percentage trainer Bruce Levine after working a pair of four-furlong bullets over the training track at Belmont Park.