Updated on 09/17/2011 11:44PM

Springer has strong hand on rich statebred day

Four-Footed Fotos
Wiggins (above) will try to turn the tables on Home of Stars on Saturday.

STICKNEY, Ill. - The trainer Bobby Springer, every crotchety inch of him, was himself stabled in Kentucky this week, but it is in Chicago on Saturday that Springer figures to make a mark. While his perennially high-percentage barn has gone winless from 12 starts so far this Hawthorne meet, Springer is set up for a big day Saturday, when Hawthorne hosts six $100,000-added stakes for Illinois-bred horses.

And Springer has the one to beat in two of them: Jaguar City in the Illini Princess and Home of Stars in the High Alexander Handicap, perhaps the best of the stakes sequence. Home of Stars has the outside post in an eight-horse field, but he won the High Alexander last fall, is the best Illinois-bred route horse going this year, and probably is good enough to overcome the draw.

Asked if was set for a good one in the High Alexander, Springer was ready with his typical sort of reply: "Have you ever seen him run a bad one?"

No, not really. Home of Stars has won 7 of 22 lifetime, but go through his last 10 starts and you'll find nothing worse than a close fifth-place finish. That's where Home of Stars finished in his most recent start, the Hawthorne Gold Cup, but that was a rich Grade 2, and Home of Stars, a closer, had no chance on a sloppy track that favored speed.

"We've overmatched him a little his last couple outs, but he still runs his heart out," Springer said.

Jockey Eddie Razo will need to find a way to save some ground in the High Alexander, but with as many as three speed horses entered to his inside, Home of Stars should be able to drop inside for position.

has been unable to match Home of Stars in their last couple of meetings, but with both on their best game, the gap between the two isn't great. Transferred to Kentucky-based trainer Dale Romans this summer, Wiggins won a high-end Churchill allowance race, but finished seventh in the Grade 1 Whitney and ninth in the Turfway Park Fall Championship in his most recent start.

"Two races back, he just wasn't good enough, and last race he didn't seem to handle the track very well," said Romans. "He wouldn't be coming unless he was doing well."

has recently made his living in turf races, but he also handles dirt and has the class to contend in the High Alexander. And the 3-year-old High Expectations will makes his first start in Illinois-bred company since easily winning the Springfield Stakes last June.