11/02/2009 1:00AM

Ranger Heartley steps up from claiming ranks


ARCADIA, Calif. - For a leading trainer, John Sadler is clueless.

At least he is in regards to how far Ranger Heartley has progressed since being claimed for $32,000 from a maiden race at Hollywood Park in July. Since then, Ranger Heartley has won twice, including a starter allowance over a mile by 12 1/4 lengths on Oct. 21.

The victory has led Sadler to enter Ranger Heartley in an allowance race for 2-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

"I've got to do this with a horse that wins by that many lengths," Sadler said. "He's too good to put in for $50,000. I've got to find out."

Owned by Dave and Herb Alpert, Ranger Heartley will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh. Wednesday's card marks Maragh's first day at Santa Anita. Maragh, 24, who has been riding in Kentucky and New York in recent weeks, has mounts in Breeders' Cup races Friday and Saturday.

Sadler has two of the six entrants in Wednesday's $40,000 seventh race. He also starts Mr. Saturdaynight, winner of a maiden special weight race over 1 1/16 miles in his third start Oct. 9. Mr. Saturdaynight will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard both Ranger Heartley and Mr. Saturdaynight in their last races.

The field includes two stakes-placed runners - Runaway Bandido, who was third in the California Cup Juvenile here Oct. 3, and Pico Pico, who was second in the C.B. Afflebaugh Stakes at Fairplex Park on Sept. 16. Pico Pico returned to finish second in an allowance race over a mile here Oct. 14.

Connemara won his debut at Turfway Park in a one-mile maiden race Oct. 4. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Connemara has been based at Santa Anita since mid-October, long enough to have two works here. In his debut, Connemara, by Giant's Causeway, rallied from 10th in a field of 12 after a slow start to win by five lengths. Runner-up Heart Butte, trained by Pletcher, won a maiden race at Keeneland on Oct. 24.

Dream Nettie is making his first start around two turns. The winner of a six-furlong maiden race at Golden Gate Fields in August, Dream Nettie was fourth in a six-furlong optional claimer here Oct. 10.

"He looks like he might stretch out," trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. "I'd like to see what he can do."