05/16/2013 2:11PM

Thistledown: Top mare Startin Something stands in way of Raise the Reward's bid to repeat in Rowland Memorial


Raise the Reward will attempt to win the $50,000 Michael F. Rowland Memorial Handicap for the second time Saturday at Thistledown.

Trained by Jeff Radosevich, Raise the Reward won three races last year, including the six-furlong Rowland, which is restricted to Ohio-accredited horses. Ohio-accredited is the more restrictive of the two Ohio-registered categories as both the dam and sire must reside in Ohio.

Last season, Raise the Reward showed his versatility by winning a $12,000 claimer against open company going 1 1/2 miles at Beulah Park, the six-furlong Rowland, and a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer at Thistledown. But he went winless in his last five starts and tended to settle for minor awards with 6 seconds from 13 starts.

In his only outing this year, the 7-year-old Raise the Reward finished third in the six-furlong Babst/Palacios Memorial at Beulah. Jacob Radosevich retains the mount.

Despite being the only female in the 10-horse field, Startin Something is the 124-pound highweight. The 5-year-old mare Startin Something began this season where she left off last year, with a 2 1/2-length win in the Classen Memorial two weeks ago.

Startin Something, last year’s top handicap mare and accredited horse in Ohio, finished a distant fifth the last time she challenged males, but that was going 1 1/8 miles. Deshawn Parker retains the mount on Startin Something for trainer Tim Hamm.

The field also includes the 12-year-old Catlaunch, a four-time winner of the Rowland, most recently in 2010. Catlaunch, who owns 39 lifetime victories and $1.08 million in eanings, is a combined 0 for 11 the past two seasons, however. Two starts ago, he was a good second sprinting against open company at Beulah.

Plain Ol’ Willard is a young horse with upset potential. A 3-year-ol gelding, Plain Ol’ Willard rallied to miss by a half-length at 48-1 in a stakes restricted to 3-year-old Ohio-breds last time out. Two starts ago, Plain Ol’ Willard crushed first-level allowance runners by nearly 12 lengths.