03/28/2013 1:11PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Slander should get nice pace setup

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OLDSMAR, Fla. – Slander used a strong late rally to upset a tough group of allowance foes on the turf in her first start of the Tampa meeting in December. She looks well-placed to win her third race locally on Saturday when she heads a field of nine female turf runners in a one-mile, second-level optional claiming race.

Fernando De La Cruz, who has been aboard Slander in all four of her outings this meet, returns for veteran conditioner Forrest Kaelin.

Slander waited well off the pace into the stretch of her first start this season while facing allowance rivals at 1 1/16 miles. She then angled outside in the drive and unleashed a strong late burst that carried her to a half-length win over Fire Assay and Pelipa at odds of 24-1. Fire Assay came back to capture her next start.

Slander was unplaced in her next race after making a premature move to contention, then was a solid third in her next on the main track.

Most recently, Slander rallied from off the pace to finish third behind Magical Cat, who returned to finish second in a third-level option claimer. With Saturday’s field overloaded with front-running types, the race may set up perfectly for a late late-runner like Slander.

Poetic Kid will be making her first U.S. start and her first for trainer Chad Brown. A late-runner, Poetic Kid has finished first or second in seven of her 11 lifetime starts at Woodbine. Last season she finished fourth in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes over the Woodbine turf. Off since November 2012, Poetic Kid has been training on a regular schedule at Palm Beach Meadows.

Luis Gacia will handle Poetic Kid.

Write When Ready closed stoutly from off the pace in her last to fall a neck short, and is another who should be lurking off what promises to be a hot pace. A five-time lifetime winner on the grass, Write When Ready will again have Victor Santiago in the irons.

Diamond d’Oro, who won a five-furlong dash earlier in the meeting, is one of several in the field with strong early foot. A close up third last out in a five-furlong turf sprint that was run in 55.14 seconds, the Jason Servis trainee figures to be prominent from the outset under Ronnie Allen Jr.

Impartial, from the Christophe Clement barn, disputed the pace to the final furlong of her last before weakening to fourth. She is another who should be in close attendance from the start.