07/29/2011 1:53PM

Santa Rose: Lady Railrider strong option 'B' in Luther Burbank


Although his top turf runner, Antares World, is being freshened, trainer Steve Specht is feeling good about his chances in Sunday’s $50,000-added Luther Burbank at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, Calif. He will sadle Lady Railrider, who will break from the outside post among 10 fillies and mares set to contest the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes.

Lady Railrider, a multiple stakes winner who has earned $563,210 in 28 starts, is not exactly chopped liver when she runs on the turf. In five turf starts, she has won the Pacific Heights on the grass at Golden Gate Fields in 2009, had three seconds, including in the Fran’s Valentine on May 22 at Hollywood Park, and a third in last year’s Luther Burbank.

That’s not quite as good as Antares World, like Lady Railrider a Larry and Marianne Williams homebred who has a win in the Golden Poppy, a second in the Grade 1 American Oaks and a third in the Grade 3 Harold Ramser. But Lady Railrider is the one to beat in the Luther Burbank, as far as Specht is concerned.

“She’ll be tough,” Specht said.

The 6-year-old mare was third to Victoryasecret, beaten a half-length, as the even-money favorite in the Alameda County Fillies & Mares Handicap in her last start on June 25. She was in front at the eighth pole before being outfinished, and Specht blames himself.

“Last time, I took it easy on her because she had made a couple trips down south to Hollywood Park, and I think it told in the final sixteenth,” Specht said.

Since that race, Lady Railrider has put in solid half-mile and five-furlong works and a strong mile drill.

“We’ll have no excuses,” said Specht.

That being said, Lady Railrider will definitely need to bring her “A” game.

She has enough early speed and is versatile enough that she shouldn’t be caught too wide on the first turn, but Victoryasecret has the rail and should get a perfect trip. Victoryasecret brings a two-race win streak into the Luther Burbank, the first win coming on the turf at Golden Gate Fields.

Just as he did in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sends out three runners in the Luther Burbank: U R All that I Am, who won the Work the Crowd on the turf in April; Sky High Hatty, who won two straight turf starts before fading to seventh in the Alameda County; and Waynetta.

Rounding out the field are Bleach Blonde, Dark Dolores, Blendara, Smart Striking and longshot Ballet.