07/15/2009 11:00PM

Tribesman has learned to relax


PLEASANTON, Calif. - If there's one thing Tribesman is known for, it's speed.

In 2008, all four of his victories - including the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup, the $150,000 Cal Cup Sprint, and the $75,000 State Fair Sprint - were front-running wins, as was his 2009 debut victory on June 5 at Golden Gate Fields.

But trainer Roger Hansen says he wouldn't be shocked if Tribesman didn't set the early pace in Saturday's $50,000 Sam J. Whiting Handicap at six furlongs at the Alameda County Fair.

"He's way more relaxed when he works now," Hansen said.

Tribesman has only four rivals in the six-furlong sprint and is flanked by a pair of runners from the Steve Miyadi barn. Magic Texan, the runner-up after setting the pace in last year's Whiting, drew the rail just inside Tribesman. Bamaha Breeze, winner of the El Segundo on the turf at Hollywood Park on May 21 in his first start in nearly five months, is lined up just outside Tribesman in the No. 3 post.

Edit This and graded-stakes-placed Guns on the Table round out the field.

"It will be interesting to see," Hansen said of how Tribesman might react if Magic Texan had the lead in the opening quarter, something that hasn't happened to Tribesman since March 15, 2008.

The 5-year-old Tribesman, who has won 9 of 14 starts at six furlongs, is easier to handle in the morning since coming back this year.

Tribesman, who has broken 44 seconds for the opening half-mile, cruised to his 2009 debut victory with pedestrian 22.70 and 45.79 fractions, finishing the six-furlong race with a 23.66 final quarter.

He has put in three solid works, two at one-half mile (48.00 and 47.80) and a five-furlong bullet in 1:00.80 since.

"We've had no problems," said Hansen. "In all those works, he's had plenty left. I didn't think I had him fit for the first race, so we've worked a little more than usual."

The Miyadi duo could tag-team Tribesman. Magic Texan seems more likely to go early, while Bamaha Breeze, who has 6 wins and a second in 7 career sprints, will likely sit very close with the advantage of his outside draw on Tribesman. Guns on the Table will also get a good stalking trip.

Tribesman spots his rivals from four to 11 pounds while carrying 123, matching the highest impost of his career.

Bamaha Breeze, who gets in at 119, "might have got off easy," said Hansen, who, nonetheless, says the weight assignments were "fair for the most part."