12/29/2011 12:53PM

Turf Paradise: Beer Meister back from long break in Luke Kruytbosch


PHOENIX – Beer Meister tried to parlay his 40-1 upset in last winter’s Turf Paradise Derby into bigger things as he tried a couple graded stakes. He found those waters a bit too deep, but the 3-year-old son of Pleasant Tap returns to his home base and the site of his big Turf Paradise Derby win when he leads Saturday’s $35,000 Luke Kruytbosch.

The 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds, named for the former track announcer who also called races at Churchill Downs before he died in 2008, drew a field of nine.

Beer Meister, owned by Linda Egger and William Burns and trained by Manuel Ortiz, made quite a splash in his debut here a year ago, whipping maiden claimers by 11 1/2 lengths. He then ran second in a pair of allowance sprints in January. Beer Meister took the big step up for the Feb. 26 Turf Paradise Derby, his first route attempt. He was as far back as 22 lengths early, but put in a sustained rally that carried him to a two-length upset.

Beer Meister was a respectable fifth in the Grade 3 Sunland Park Derby on March 27, then was sidelined for two months. Beer Meister came back to be seventh in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 14. This marks his first start since that race and he has worked steadily. Glenn Corbett, who was aboard for his Turf Paradise Derby upset, has the call.

Beer Meister’s main opponent may be Wegner, a son of Dynaformer who cost $130,000 as a yearling and started his career with Bob Baffert in California. He won 1 of 7 starts there, with his maiden win going a mile at Santa Anita last January. He failed to threaten in three starts against winners and changed hands.

Now owned by the Majestic Racing Stable LLC and trained by Dan McFarlane, Wegner made his first start here Dec. 2 going a mile in an allowance race. He dueled for the lead all the way around and finished second, beaten a nose by Rocket Roan. Tammi Piermarini rides again.

Wicked Landlord could be a threat. He comes off a series of good grass races but is no stranger to dirt, having posted two of his four wins on dirt.