05/12/2010 11:00PM

Rider switch could spark Our Minesweeper


Our Minesweeper shouldn't be a difficult horse to ride, but he has caused trainer Michael Lenzini and riders plenty of headaches since scoring back-to-back victories in the Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes and the Bart Heller last year.

Our Minesweeper gets a new rider as he tries to return to the winner's circle Saturday in the $60,000 Alcatraz at 1 1/16 miles over the Golden Gate Fields turf.

It will take not only a good ride by Leslie Mawing but also a strong effort by Our Minesweeper to beat his six rivals, which include Excessive Passion, who bested him while winning the Harry Henson in their last start, and Dream Nettie, who comes off a victory in the $100,000 La Puente.

The field also includes Hudson Landing, who has won two straight here, including an allowance race at this distance on the turf last time; Leroy's Dynameaux, who has a win and a second in his two starts and a six-furlong bullet work on the Hollywood Park turf course; Karmalize, who graduated two races back; and Fantastic Pick, a British-bred who is 0 for 2 in the U.S.

Last summer Our Minesweeper won the one-mile Bart Heller, which was moved from the turf to the main track, and was second in the Gold Rush at a mile. He lost a photo at a mile to Skipshot two races back, with Dream Nettie another head back in third. But he comes off the worst effort of his career, running last the entire way under Joel Rosario in the six-furlong Harry Henson at Hollywood Park in his turf debut.

"You have to just let him settle in," Lenzini said. "He will settle in, but Joel took a big hold of him. I think riders see he rates and grab hold of him, but I'm very adamant that they're not to grab him. I think riders try to override too much."

Mawing worked Our Minesweeper a fast half-mile in 45.20 last Sunday, the best of 89 works at the distance. Lenzini said the work was faster than he wanted but that it didn't seem to take anything out of the colt.

And Lenzini said Mawing "felt comfortable" on Our Minesweeper.

Lenzini would have preferred an outside draw for Our Minesweeper but wound up with post 3. With several in the field who could claim the lead, and Excessive Passion and Leroy's Dynameaux both stretching out for the first time, the outside post might have made it easier for Mawing to settle Our Minesweeper into a good position.