05/24/2009 11:00PM

Southern Yankee takes on her elders


After winning two stakes already this season, Southern Yankee faces a new challenge when she goes against older fillies and mares for the first time in Tuesday night's $75,000 Ohio Valley Handicap at Mountaineer Racetrack.


A 3-year-old daughter of Yankee Gentleman trained by Olivo Inirio, Southern Yankee has proven versatile enough to win the seven-furlong Genesis at Delta Downs in January and the 5 1/2-furlong Hallowed Dreams at Evangeline Downs in April.

She comes back less than three weeks after dueling up front and fading to third in the Inaugural over the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs.

The last time she went from synthetic to dirt, Southern Yankee romped by more than seven lengths in a first-level allowance at Mountaineer last October.

Hadavision and A Little Wild, both making their second start off the claim, may prove to be Southern Yankee's toughest competition among six rivals in the six-furlong Ohio Valley.

The 4-year-old Hadavision returns to Mountaineer two weeks after rallying to get second in the five-furlong Hancock County. Kentucky-based trainer Daniel Smithwick, who took Hadavision for $40,000 in April, shows a 7-for-20 record (35 percent) second time off the claim the last five years, according to DRF's Formulator.

Trainer Paula Bacon reclaimed the 6-year-old A Little Wild for $62,500 last December. She makes the second start of her form cycle after finishing second in a high-priced optional claimer at Preque Isle two weeks ago. Last year, A Little Wild was good enough to finish third locally in the $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State.

Thistledown shipper Pay the Man has won her last two starts, including a restricted stakes last time out. Although she is 5 for 10 at the distance, Pay the Man hasn't run particularly well locally. Her best Beyer in four previous starts at Mountaineer was a 69, far below the 83 she recorded winning her most recent race.

Overandabeauty remains eligible for a nonwinners-of-two condition, but posseses good early speed and has been training well in Kentucky for her first start on dirt since she was transferred from NIck Zito to David Carroll.

A fast, contested pace would benefit Ruffaroundtheedges, who came from far back to win a pair of stakes at Retama Park last fall. She may appreciate the extra furlong she gets Tuesday after she put in a belated rally to get third in the Hancock County.