08/05/2010 4:32PM

Sweet Dixie Van ready to challenge Colorado-bred males


Sweet Dixie Van has made short work of her rivals this meet at Arapahoe Park by winning both of her career starts by a combined margin of 12 1/2 lengths. But on Saturday, the stakes will be higher in the $20,000 Silver Cup Futurity.

“She’s got to run against the boys this time,” said Tyrone Gleason, who trains Sweet Dixie Van. The Silver Cup, a 5 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-olds bred in Colorado, drew a field of 10, and Sweet Dixie Van is the lone filly in the field. But she looks like she can hold her own on paper and physically.

“She’s a big, stout filly,” said Gleason. “And she tries hard.”

Sweet Dixie Van made her career debut July 3 and wired the field in a qualifying trial for the $38,000 Colorado Thoroughbred Breeders Association Lassie at Arapahoe. One start later, she won the finale by 9 1/4 lengths, and the Beyer Figure of 34 that she earned is the best number in the Silver Cup field. Sweet Dixie Van will break from post 10.

“I think it will be all right,” Gleason said of the draw. “She can stay out of trouble out there and make a little move like she did last time. She came from off of it last time.”

Kelsi Purcell has the mount on Sweet Dixie Van, who is a half-sister to stakes winner Spoonerism. The filly races for Bill Vanlandingham. The most accomplished colt in the field is Class Favorite, winner of the $37,000 CTBA Futurity in his last start July 17.