03/08/2006 12:00AM

Purim to stay on dirt in Razorback


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Purim, who is already a graded stakes winner on turf, will attempt to add a Grade 3 win on dirt to his resume Sunday, when he starts as the probable second choice to Rockport Harbor in the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

Purim comes into the race off a sharp effort on dirt, finishing second to Sir Shackleton in the $50,000 Super Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 11. The seven-furlong race went in a track record time of 1:22.28. Purim, making his first start since Nov. 25, finished 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

Purim's biggest win came on turf, when he won last year's Grade 3 Arlington Classic at Arlington Park. Overall, he has two wins on turf and two on dirt.

"He's fine either way, but his numbers are better on dirt," Tom Proctor, who trains Purim for E.J. Sukley, said on Wednesday.

Purim's sire is Dynaformer, whose best son, Perfect Drift, is a Grade 1 winner on dirt. Purim is out of the Lord at War mare Kirsteena, who was a winner on turf and was trained by Proctor.

Proctor said Purim would be ridden by Robby Albarado. The colt put in his final work for the race on Wednesday, going five furlongs in 1:00.80 here.

Others considered probable for the Razorback are Greater Good, Prince T., Real Dandy, and Thunder Mission. The 1 1/16-mile race is one of two stakes this weekend. The Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup on Saturday will draw Grade 1 winners Happy Ticket and Round Pond.

The Razorback is the final local prep for the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 8.

Kip Deville to Rebel

Kip Deville, who won the $40,000 Texas Heritage last Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park, will make his next start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Rebel Stakes here on March 18, his co-owner and trainer, Mike Neatherlin, said Wednesday.

Neatherlin said one reason he and co-owner Roy Cobb chose the Rebel for Kip Deville is because three starts ago the colt was a close third to Steppenwolfer in an optional claimer at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

Steppenwolfer will be one of the top choices in the Rebel following his runner-up finish to top Kentucky Derby candidate Lawyer Ron last out in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes.

Neatherlin said Quincy Hamilton will ride Kip Deville, who has won his last two starts, both on the front end. Prior to the Texas Heritage, he was a 7 1/2-length allowance winner at Sam Houston.

Baghdaria may go to Sunland Oaks

Baghdaria is being considered for the $250,000 Sunland Park Oaks on April 1, trainer Bret Calhoun said earlier this week. Baghdaria's biggest win came in January, when she won the Grade 3, $250,000 Silverbulletday at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs.

In her most recent start, Baghdaria finished sixth in the $50,000 Martha Washington here on Feb. 24.

"She came back good," said Calhoun, who said he felt Baghdaria "fought the racetrack" in the Martha Washington.

* Level Playingfield, who closed with a flourish along the inside to win a recent optional claimer over multiple stakes winner Rodeo's Castle, is headed next to the $50,000 Hot Springs Stakes, said his trainer, Bob Holthus. Level Playingfield earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

* Red Raymond, the third-place finisher in the Southwest, is being pointed for the Rebel, said Holthus.