05/26/2010 11:00PM

Stidham sends out two contenders in Hanshin Cup


Ahom appear competitive, for the $100,000 Hanshin, which will be contested around one turn at one mile. Tybalt makes his first synthetic track start since being imported from England, while Gran Estreno has more than a passing familiarity with Arlington, having won the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap here last summer.

Gran Estreno has gone 4 for 4 racing on Arlington's Polytrack, but he has nothing on Hanshin entrant Wildeydsouthernboy, who has won 6 of 7 starts on the local synthetic main track. Wildeydsouthernboy has never raced beyond 7 1/2 furlongs, but trainer Hugh Robertson said he doesn't think Saturday's distance will mute the gelding's strong stretch run.

"Three-quarters probably is a little shorter than he wants to go, and seven-eighths is his optimum distance," said Robertson.

Tybalt hasn't raced since he won an allowance at Fair Grounds on Feb. 27. His spring campaign has been delayed by chronically difficult feet.

"We've got them good again now," Stidham said.

At his best, Tybalt came within a neck of winning the 2008 Oak Tree Mile, a Grade 2, and though all his U.S. starts have come on turf or dirt, Tybalt won and finished second over all-weather surfaces several years ago in England.

Mad Flatter figures to set the pace, and if left unchallenged on the lead -- which, on paper, seems entirely possible -- he could stick around till for the stretch run.