09/01/2009 11:00PM

Texas Wildcatter can turn it around

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Owner Glen Todd is hoping that throat surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis will help turn Texas Wildcatter around when he runs in the $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate on Monday. The Randall is one of five stakes on the Labor Day card. Texas Wildcatter had the surgery following a last-place finish in a one-mile allowance race at Emerald Downs on Aug. 16.

Texas Wildcatter hasn't lived up to the promise he displayed in his first start at Hastings last year. Purchased by Todd and Patrick Kinsella as a B.C. Derby prospect, Texas Wildcatter ran a huge race in his first start here. Just a 3-year-old, he came close to upsetting a strong field of older horses in the $107,000 B.C. Cup Classic, losing by a neck to Spaghetti Mouse. Since then his only win came in a first-level, $50,000 optional race in his initial start at the current meet. He did finish second as the heavy favorite in last year's Grade 3 Canadian Derby, and he also ran an okay race to finish third behind Krazy Koffee in the Grade 3 B.C. Derby. Nonetheless, a lot more was expected from him after his tremendous race in the Classic.

Trained by Troy Taylor, Texas Wildcatter looked like he was back on track when he finished second to Teide in the $101,000 Lieutenant Governors on July 1, but he followed up his solid effort with two disappointing races at Emerald Downs, including a fifth in the $50,000 Mt. Rainier on July 26.

"I still maintain he's the real deal," said Todd. "He's a lot better than he showed at Emerald and I think he'll show it on Monday."

Texas Wildcatter showed surprising speed in his last start, but it's not likely that he'll be near the lead in the Randall.

"He doesn't want to run like that," said Todd. "We're going to use Winter Warning as a rabbit for him."

In the Lieutenant Governors, the rabbit successfully employed was Forest Prince. He'll be running in the $30,000 PNE Presidents Speed.

Taylor could have his hands full on Monday. If all the races he is planning on entering horses in fill, he will have 10 horses running. It's possible all three of the horses he nominated to the $55,000 Strawberry Morn for fillies and mares will run.

"For sure Lady Raj is going to go," said Taylor. "Either Holy Nova or Summer Song will also start, possibly both. If I had to make the decision today it would probably be just Holy Nova, but we'll see."

Holy Nova is coming off an uncharacteristically dull performance in the $90,000 Emerald Downs Distaff on Aug. 16.

"It just wasn't her day," said Taylor. "She is doing fine right now, and I expect her to run a much better race."

Holy Nova has won 13 of her 25 starts for earnings of $378,642.

Random Highs sharp for Strawberry Morn

Trainer Sylvea Gregory is excited about running Random Highs in the Strawberry Morn. Gregory has been training horses for seven years, and this will be her first starter in a stakes race. She mostly trains for herself and her husband, David Gregory. She is also the main exercise rider for trainer Juan Olmos.

Random Highs will be stretching out to a middle distance for the first time in the 1 1/16- mile Strawberry Morn. She is a sharp horse right now, winning two of her last four starts and finishing second twice. Gregory thinks she will thrive going longer.

"She acts like she'll go long in the mornings and she has the same type of breeding as Tommy Danzigger," said Gregory.

Tommy Danzigger is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at 1 3/8 miles. Both horses are by High Demand out of a General Meeting mare.

"She is a tough-minded horse and does everything right," said Gregory. "She rates and is a real nice ride. I've got my fingers crossed."

May steps in as substitute trainer

Trainer Alan May is a bit like Manny Mota, one of the all-time great pinch hitters in baseball. May, who was inducted into the B.C. Horse Racing Hall of Fame two years ago, has been pinch-training for Michael Puhich and Troy Taylor this year. He recently spent a month at Northlands Park with Summer Song subbing for Troy Taylor. He also took a horse he owns, Big Bertha. It was a good month. He won two stakes races with Summer Song, and Big Bertha won a couple of claiming races.

"It would have been a long month but it's always fun when your winning races," said May. "It's nice to be home, though."

Puhich is sending Dixie Meister and Silver Stetson to May to run on Monday. Dixie Meister will run in the Randall and Silver Stetson goes in the PNE Presidents.

Dixie Meister, who was trained in Southern California by Julio Canani, was originally sent to Puhich to run in the Longacres Mile but didn't receive enough weight to get in.

"They were pretty upset about that," said May.

Dixie Meister won the Grade 2 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita in 2007 but hasn't won a race since.

Injury means retirement for What R the Odds

Multiple stakes winner What R the Odds broke down in the middle of a workout at Hastings on Monday morning and has been retired.

Purchased as a yearling by her trainer, Mel Snow, for $1,000 out of the Ocala Breeders Sale in January 2007, What R the Odds has earned $115,995.

"She broke a sesamoid," said Snow. "She is comfortable, and as long as she doesn't founder on the other side she should be fine."