11/04/2008 12:00AM

Penn National: Big boys ship in for two stakes


The high-percentage, powerhouse stables of Steve Asmussen and Tony Dutrow have combined to win nearly 3,000 races over the past five years. Neither trainer, however, has won a race at Penn National Race Course.

That’s mainly because they rarely ship a horse to the track near Hershey, Pa.

But Asmussen and Dutrow stand a good chance to sweep a pair of $75,000 stakes for 2-year-olds on Thursday night’s program.

Asmussen will ship in the filly Sky Haven from New York for the Blue Mountain Juvenile (race 7). The Delaware-based Officer Ipod will be an odds-on favorite for Dutrow in the High Yield (race 8).

Both stakes are restricted to Pennsylvania-breds and will be contested at six furlongs.

Asmussen, who has not started a horse at Penn National the past five years, has a big shot in the Blue Mountain Juvenile with Sky Haven, who comes off a daylight win in open company in the $100,000 Presque Isle Downs Debutante over a Tapeta surface.

In her only start on dirt, Sky Haven rallied from off the pace to get second as the 5-2 favorite in the Colleen at Monmouth Park.

Sky Haven’s chief challenger among six rivals is First Class Fever, who also switches back to dirt after putting together a three-race winning streak on synthetic surfaces at Presque Isle and Keeneland. Two starts ago, First Class Fever, trained by the Kentucky-based Robert Holthus, nosed out Sky Haven going 5 1/2 furlongs.

Two others worth considering are the Tim Ritchey-trained La Danseur, who won her career debut in a restricted stakes on turf at Delaware Park, and Looky Here, who makes her first start on dirt following back-to-back wins over the Tapeta at Presque Isle.

Dutrow, 0 for 3 shipping into Penn National this season, has the classiest horse in the High Yield. Officer Ipod has already finished second in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga and the Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth, but ran poorly when he was tried on turf last time out.

His keenest competition figures to come from Juke Joint, whose 3-for-3 record includes stakes wins on Tapeta at Presque Isle and on dirt at Laurel in the Maryland Million Nursery.

Baystormrising has been off since drawing away from eight opponents in a six-furlong sprint on Sept. 23. Three horses he defeated each came back to win his next start, but Baystormrising shows no workouts in the last month.