07/01/2010 11:00PM

Several hurdles for Bewild Hennessy


There is no clear-cut favorite Sunday in the $40,000 Sierra Blanca Handicap, a 5 1/2-furlong race for older New Mexico-breds at Ruidoso Downs that drew a diverse field, including the up-and-coming Bewild Hennessy and stakes winners Cattleman Prospect and Gulchrunssweet.

Adding to the puzzle, none of the nine horses in the field is coming off a win, and several top contenders are cutting back in distance from two-turn starts at SunRay Park. Lefty Who, meanwhile, is the 121-pound highweight, but the Sierra Blanca will be his first start since April.

"It's a good race," said Todd Fincher, who trains Bewild Hennessy. "I think it's pretty wide open."

Bewild Hennessy, a stakes winner who has won three of his nine starts, is appealing because he has been sprinting. He last raced May 31 and was third in a $20,000 optional claiming allowance at 4 1/2 furlongs at SunRay Park.

The race should have him sharp for the 5 1/2 furlongs, but while Fincher said he is pleased with how Bewild Hennessy is training, he said he has some concerns about his post Sunday.

A front-runner, Bewild Hennessy will break from post 2 with several speed horses situated to his outside. Fincher said he would have preferred an outside gate.

"The stars aren't perfectly aligned," Fincher said. "I don't like our post position, but that's what we got. We've got to get a good break."

Fincher is also monitoring the weather and noted there is a chance the track will be wet Sunday, which would be a first for Bewild Hennessy. He is also making his first start at Ruidoso.

"I don't know if he'll take to the track or not, but we've worked him a couple times there, and he worked fine," Fincher said. "The horse is doing good, and he tries. It will be a good race."

Mark Villa has the mount on the 4-year-old Bewild Hennessy for Charles Hunter.