08/03/2011 1:32PM

Penn National: Deal Making back at his best distance in Robellino

Barbara D. Livingston
Deal Making will return to 1 1/16 miles on turf for Friday's Robellino Stakes at Penn National.

Pennsylvania-breds will take center stage Friday night at Penn National with a pair of $75,000 turf events.

Deal Making will be looking for his first win since July 2008 when facing 10 other Pennsylvania-bred older males in the 1 1/16-mile Robellino. Trained by Graham Motion, Deal Making will be making his second start off a two-month layoff. In his last out July 4, the 6-year-old gelding finished third in an open allowance turf event going a mile at Penn National. The son of Empire Maker was beaten only two lengths after coming from far back in the compact field of six.

The added distance should be to Deal Making’s liking as he has won 3 of 4 going 1 1/16 miles on turf. Although winless in his last 12 starts, Deal Making, now 6, has been close in all of his races since coming back from a 16-month layoff in February. That layoff was the second lengthy stay on the sidelines of his career. He was also off nine months from October 2008 to July 2009.

In his first back on Feb.  26, he finished second, beaten a neck, at Gulfstream Park going 1 1/16 miles, his only loss at the distance. In his next out April 3, he finished fourth, beaten two lengths, going 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park. Deal Making then finished third going 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs.

Deal Making signaled his readiness for the Robellino with a bullet four-furlong work in 49.00 seconds Monday at the Fair Hill training center. Jeremy Rose will ride.

Should Deal Making fail to run his best race or the event be moved to the main track, Gunfighter could be tough. The 4-year-old gelding has been hot lately, finishing second in the John J. Reilly at Monmouth on May 28. In his next out June 19, Gunfighter won the Bernie Dowd at Monmouth going a mile and 70 yards. In his most recent out July 17, the Steve Klesaris trainee finished second in an open allowance event at Monmouth going a mile. Jose Valdivia retains the mount.

◗ Noble Maz heads a field of 11 older fillies and mares in the Russian Rhythm. The 5-year-old mare sports an 11-3-2-1 record at five furlongs on the turf. Trained by Bill McCarthy, Noble Maz is winless this season, but has been close in all three five-furlong turf events in which she has participated. Kendrick Carmouche retains the mount.

Others in the field include Wacked Out, Twelve Pack Shelly, Tap Softly, Project Rose, Looky Here, Hygh Jackie, You Need Me, Look at Me Dance, Ocean Princess, and Amnesian.