12/31/2012 2:01PM

Penn National: Rascal Flatter tries again in Thursday allowance


Since defeating fellow Pennsylvania-breds in April 2011, Rascal Flatter has failed 15 times in his quest to clear his first allowance condition against open company. Based on his recent form for his new connections, Rascal Flatter may finally be ready to clear that hurdle in the feature race on Penn National’s first card of the 2013 season Thursday night.

The 6-year-old Rascal Flatter, claimed out of a win for $7,500 by trainer Bruce Kravets on Oct. 19, returns to the allowance ranks in race 4, a six-furlong sprint worth $31,000. Despite breaking last out of the gate, Rascal Flatter rallied to defeat $10,000 claimers Dec. 13. The 76 Beyer Speed Figure he earned is close to the par of 80 for Thursday’s class level.

Another Pennsylvania-bred, the New York-based Cortado, may be the horse Rascal Flatter will have to fend off in the stretch. The 5-year-old Cortado beat statebred allowance company in May, then went 0 for 4 against open allowance foes before being given a three-month break by trainer Bruce Levine.

Four of Cortado’s last seven races fall in the range between 76 and 81 on the Beyer scale, which stamps him a contender in Thursday’s feature.

The 12-horse field includes two lightly raced horses returning from long layoffs. Miami Mako has not raced since last January. Heart of Nepal has been off since Dec. 30, 2011.

The 5-year-old Miami Mako recorded an 82 Beyer in a first-level allowance at Parx Racing in December 2011. He shows a bullet half-mile workout on Dec. 22 for his first start since coming to the barn of John Pregman.

Heart of Nepal has raced just three times and not at all since defeating $20,000 maiden claimers with a 76 Beyer slightly more than a year ago.

Track juggles stakes funding

Penn National did some creative shuffling of available purse money in shaping its 2013 stakes schedule.

In 2012, Penn National offered 12 stakes for open company – 11 worth $100,000 or more. The number of open stakes has been slashed to six for 2013, but the total purse money devoted to those stakes is roughly the same at $1.4 million.

In order to fund the new $500,000 Penn Mile for 3-year-olds, the track dropped six $100,000 stakes. The casualties included the Capital City, one of the track’s oldest stakes, which dates back to 1978. Also gone is the Jennie Wade Handicap, the filly and mare version of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup. The Jennie Wade, a turf sprint, was first run in 2002.

The Day Lily, formerly a $100,000 sprint for fillies and mares, has been rechristened the Lady in Waiting with a purse of $150,000.

The Mountainview Handicap for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles got a $75,000 boost to $250,000, money that became available by dropping the $75,000 Femme Fatale. The six-furlong Fabulous Strike and the 1 1/16-mile Swatara each got a $50,000 bump to $150,000 and $250,000 respectively.

Among the holdover stakes, the Governor’s Cup, a five-furlong turf sprint, is now worth $150,000, down from $200,000.