06/13/2012 12:22PM

Penn National: Lyphard draws sharp pair of Sky Willow and Ask Me Anything


Sky Willow and Ask Me Anything, each coming off a victory while returning from a layoff, look like the prime contenders in Friday night’s $75,000 Lyphard Stakes at Penn National.

The Lyphard, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, drew a full field of 10 Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares, along with two also-eligibles. It goes as race 4 at 7:24 p.m. Eastern.

The 4-year-old Sky Willow rebounded from a troubled trip in her turf debut at Keeneland in April to win a first-level optional $16,000 claimer against open company at Delaware Park. She comes from the same connections, trainer Jonathan Sheppard and owner George Strawbridge Jr.’s Augustin Stable, that combined to win the 2010 Russian Rhythm, a turf stakes for Pa-breds, at Penn National.

Ask Me Anything, a 5-year-old trained by Leigh Delacour, won her first start since October in a third-level optional $40,000 claimer at Parx on June 5. Delacour shows a 7-for-17 (41 percent) hit rate with last-out winners making their second start following a layoff in a turf route.

The most intriguing horse in the field might be Weeper, a 5-year-old who was far back throughout a five-furlong turf stakes at Pimlico while making her first start in 13 months. She is 2 for 2 on Penn’s turf course, having won a five-furlong maiden special weight and an open-company first-level allowance during 2010.

The Parx-based Little Often Ami shows one good effort at Pimlico sandwiched between two off-the-board finishes in New York this season. The two turf wins she recorded last season, one at Monmouth and the other at Parx, are the only victories her owner-trainer Louis Cocelli Jr. has managed in 40 starts since 2009.

Rosalita’s Wish wired nine opponents in a one-mile starter allowance in her first start off the claim for trainer Alan Bedard. She will be facing statebreds for the first time since finishing last in the off-the-turf Mrs. Penny last September.

Lenape Rim will try to see if she can transfer the form that produced a second in last summer’s Malvern Rose at Presque Isle in her lone start on a synthetic surface. She is stretching out from six furlongs and trying turf for the first time.