09/28/2005 11:00PM

Top statebreds in Best of Ohio


GROVE CITY, Ohio - Large, competitive fields are the rule on Saturday when Beulah Park hosts the Best of Ohio series, which consists of five stakes for statebreds and rotates among Ohio's three Thoroughbred tracks on a yearly basis.

The $75,000 Best of Ohio Endurance highlights the program. The rapidly improving 3-year-old gelding Ready for Roses heads a field of 12 entered in the 1 1/4-mile Endurance.

Ready for Roses has shown vast improvement in his six-month racing career, which began at Thistledown on April 16 when he finished last of six in a maiden race. In his second career start, Ready for Roses finished fourth.

Ready for Roses hasn't missed the exacta since, recording three wins and three runner-up finishes with his Beyer Figures improving in all eight of his starts, capped off by the 90 he earned while rallying for an easy victory in the Governor's Buckeye Handicap at Thistledown on Sept. 5.

Tim Hamm, who trains Ready for Roses, has given a return call to jockey Irwin Rosendo.

Oblat is the main threat as he seeks his fourth straight win and his first stakes score. In his most recent start, Oblat rallied to win by three-quarters of a length against allowance company in a turf race at Mountaineer Park. Perry Ouzts rides Oblat, who is trained by John Langemeir.

On My Word is an interesting longshot in the Endurance, having shown improvement in each of his three starts this year. He most recently finished a troubled third to Ready for Roses in the Governor's Buckeye.

Galbreath: Lillians Choice favored

Lillians Choice will be a short-priced favorite when she takes on 10 other 2-year-old fillies in the $60,000 John W. Galbreath Memorial.

Lillians Choice is undefeated in three career starts, including two stakes. She is trained by Bret Calhoun.

Lillians Choice will attempt to win at her fourth different track as she tries two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Galbreath.

Bobby Walker Jr. has a return call aboard Lillians Choice.

Juvenile: 'King' has experience edge

The $60,000 Best of Ohio Juvenile looks much more wide open than the Galbreath and has drawn a competitive field of eight.

Acts Like a King deserves a slight edge in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile based on his two-turn experience. Acts Like a King finished third, beaten 12 3/4 lengths, against open company in the $200,000 Cradle Stakes at River Downs going 1 1/16 miles in his most recent start.

Acts Like a King sports a record of 1-2-1 from 4 starts, all for his owner-breeder, Fred Nemann, and trainer, Kris Nemann. His lone victory came in the $40,000 Hoover Stakes at River Downs in July. Kris Nemann's son Nathan Solomon has a return call.

Dinner Choice and Tri Uimet are both capable of winning the Juvenile in their first try around two turns.

Sprint: Ben's Reflection seeks repeat

Defending champion Ben's Reflection heads a field of eight in the $50,000 Best of Ohio Sprint at six furlongs.

Ben's Reflection, a 5-year-old gelded son of Cahill Road, has been one of the state's top sprinters over the past three years for trainer Mike Nance. He sports a career record of 13-5-4 from 24 starts and generally stalks the pace before making his move. Jeff Johnston, who won this race aboard Ben's Reflection last year, will again ride.

I Cant Refuse, who held on to upset Ben's Reflection by three-quarters of a length in the $40,000 Honey Jay at Thistledown last out, is the main danger under Scott Spieth.

Distaff: Full field is wide open

Half a dozen or more runners look to have legitimate chances as a full field of 14 fillies and mares go postward in the $50,000 Best of Ohio Distaff.

Last year's one-two finishers in the 1 1/8-mile race, Whitewater Way and Oh So Easy, are both entered, but neither is in top form.

Golden Tour looks like the one to beat. Owned, trained, and bred by John Bourke, Golden Tour is the most consistent runner in the field, having finished third or better in all four of her starts this year. Spieth picks up the mount.

A pair of 3-year-old fillies, Bold Passage and Pyrite Bonds, loom as contenders as they attempt to defeat older rivals for the first time.