02/21/2010 12:00AM

Polka at Night, Kudu meet again


Polka at Night and Kudu, a pair of 5-year-old geldings who split two decisions within a three-week period in November but have been on the sidelines since, resume their rivalry in Monday's featured ninth race at Philadelphia Park.

The mile and 70-yard race, a third-level optional $40,000 claimer, attracted a field of seven older


Polka at Night is coming off a season in which he won 7 of 9 starts, including a third-level allowance in which he defeated 9-5 favorite Kudu by 5 1/4 lengths in the final start of 2009 for both horses on Nov. 21.

Three weeks earlier, Kudu nosed out Polka at Night for second under similar conditions as Monday's race going a mile and 70 yards.

Trained and owned by Raphael Kissoon, Polka at Night will now race for the $40,000 claiming price, the first time he has run for a tag since January 2009.

Kudu, trained by Keith Lebarron, is one of just three horses in Monday's field not entered for the $40,000 tag.

Both Polka at Night and Kudu have fired fresh off long layoffs in the past.

Last April, Polka at Night returned from more than two months on the sidelines to romp by seven lengths in a $12,500 starter allowance, then was given a seven-week break before stepping up to defeat $25,000 starter allowance foes.

Kudu, a deep closer who won the restricted Docent Handicap in October, earned a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure when he returned from a 3 1/2-month break to win a second-level allowance by 1 1/2 lengths last June.

Jade's Revenge and Bunker Hill, both of whom have graded stakes experience within the past year, drop out of the stakes ranks to run for the optional claiming tag.

The 7-year-old Jade's Revenge, unplaced in the Grade 2 Fayette on Keeneland's Polytrack last fall, ran well two starts ago against similar high-priced optional claimers at Laurel Park.

Bunker Hill, fourth in the Grade 3 Pegasus at the Meadowlands and unplaced behind Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, runs for a tag for the first time after flashing speed and stopping last month in the Evening Attire at Aqueduct.