08/31/2011 2:44PM

Remington Park: Autrey tries to strike quickly with Beachcombing in DeBartolo Handicap

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Charlie Fletcher and trainer Cody Autrey have won stakes with a handful of private purchases in recent years, and on Friday night will attempt to add to their record with Beachcombing. He is one of eight horses making up the field for the $100,000 DeBartolo Memorial Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up that highlights the program at Remington Park.

Expansion, a Grade 2 winner pushing $600,000 in earnings, should start as a solid favorite. He is co-highweighted at 120 pounds along with Skip a Smile, who moves back to turf off his win in last month’s $100,000 Governor’s Cup at Remington, and Schramsberg, the winner of last year’s $100,000 Remington Green.

Beachcombing is the race’s wild card. A son of Lemon Drop Kid purchased from Gary and Mary West Stables, Beachcombing has placed in three turf stakes in his last three starts, all at Monmouth Park. He popped a career-high Beyer Figure of 88 in his most recent out, when he was second in the $101,000 Jersey Derby on July 31.

“We bought him privately about three weeks ago,” Autrey said. “It’s a little short time for us to buy one, send him across the country, and run him. But the race came up, and he’s a true mile and an eighth horse, we think.”

Autrey was also pleased to be able to line up Corey Nakatani to come in and ride Beachcombing, who will break from post 7.

“He’s a 3-year-old facing older, but he’s getting better,” Autrey said. “We’re hoping he’s getting better at the right time.”

Other private purchases Fletcher and Autrey have won stakes with include My Star Runner, who last month took the Louisiana Cup Sprint at Louisiana Downs; Baltimore Bob, who accounted for the Grand Prairie Turf Challenge at Lone Star Park in April; and Premier Dance.

Expansion shows some strong local works for what will be his first start since May 30, when he finished a troubled second in the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star. The race has since become a key one, with the third- and seventh-place finishers from it returning in their next starts to win allowances at Lone Star.

Expansion, meanwhile, is moving back to the 1 1/8-mile a distance of his win the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap in February. He will break from post 5, with trainer Steve Asmussen giving the mount to Gerard Melancon.