06/26/2010 11:00PM

Soldero taking a jump up


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If the sharpest drop in racing is from maiden special weight company to maiden claiming, then it logically follows that the most demanding raise could be from maiden claiming to first-level allowances.

Trainer Clark Hanna, having been on the racetrack his entire adult life, knows all that. But after Soldero finally won for the first time on May 27 at Churchill Downs by dipping into the maiden-claiming ranks, Hanna was at a loss to find a suitable follow-up spot.

"I kept looking in the condition book, and there was really no other race to run him back in," said Hanna. "He's been doing so well, I thought maybe he deserved a crack at an allowance. The way this race came up, maybe it was the right move. There's really no standout in there."

Indeed, Soldero looks as good as any in a well-matched Sunday feature at Churchill, a $53,600 allowance at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Eight were entered, along with Florida Derby runner-up Pleasant Prince, a main-track-only designee who clearly would become the horse to beat if the race is transferred off the grass.

Hanna retained the services of leading rider Calvin Borel for Soldero, who will break from post 8 in the ninth of 10 Sunday races. Other logical contenders include Austons Sure Cure, Kabob, I Come From Behind, and Formulaforsuccess.

Hanna, 42, has seen his stable expand gradually in the last year or so, and now he has 24 runners in his Churchill barn. Part of that growth is attributable to the success he has had with Wise River, a turf miler who captured the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park in his last start, and Maximus Ruler, a promising 3-year-old who was taken off the Triple Crown trail in February with a minor cannon bone injury.

"We're running Wise River here in the Firecracker on the Fourth of July," said Hanna, who worked as an assistant for Dewey Smith, Jeff Jacobs, and Carl Bowman before going out on his own in 2002. "And Maximus Ruler is going to have his first breeze here in a week to 10 days."

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days before the final four-day stretch of the 42-day spring meet commences Thursday. Closing day is July 4.