04/07/2010 11:00PM

Uh Oh Bango looking for better trip


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Uh Oh Bango is the kind of horse who could step up at a nice price and run a big race Saturday in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby. The fourth-place finisher in last month's Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel, he finished more than six lengths behind winner Lookin At Lucky.

"I think he really should show an improvement off his Rebel race, and if he does show a good improvement, then we'll go ahead and think about taking him to the next level," said Kory Owens, who trains Uh Oh Bango for Triple AAA Ranch.

The Rebel was the first start of the year for Uh Oh Bango, who closed out his 2-year-old season with a runner-up finish to Rule in the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. He was freshened, and after resuming training at Turf Paradise was shipped in late February to Oaklawn for the Rebel.

"I only had one easy work in him over here, and he missed works in Arizona because of the weather," Owens said. "I've got this one race underneath him now."

Owens said Uh Oh Bango's two works after the Rebel were much better than his final work before that race.

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Uh Oh Bango also could get a different kind of trip in the Arkansas Derby than he had in the Rebel, when he pushed the pace.

"He broke just slow enough that he was maybe a neck away from the crowd, from the rest of the horses, and when they came in and bumped, it caused him to kind of get pinched off a little bit," Owens said. "It rattled him some, and when it opened up he kind of got aggressive and took off."

Uh Oh Bango, who rallied from sixth to finish second in last year's Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs, could get a nice trip tracking the rail-drawn Super Saver and Line of David. Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Uh Oh Bango, who is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Ez Dreamer.

Pulsion taking off blinkers for derby

Blinkers were added to Pulsion following his first start last summer at Hollywood Park, and he has raced in them six times, but on Saturday, they will be removed for the Arkansas Derby.

"He needed them before because he was very immature," Patrick Biancone, the trainer of Pulsion, said Thursday morning. "Now, he's on the job. He doesn't need them anymore. He's focused now."

Pulsion was way too focused in his last start. He showed sharp speed away from the gate in the Florida Derby and led for six furlongs before fading to finish sixth in the 11-horse field. Corey Nakatani, who rode Pulsion for the first time in the Florida Derby, is back aboard for the Arkansas Derby.

If Pulsion takes a big leap forward in the Arkansas Derby, Biancone said he could go to the Kentucky Derby. But Biancone said he believes the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown on June 5, will best suit Pulsion.

"You have to go through the process," Biancone said. "He's a horse for the Belmont. If anything comes quicker, we'll see."

Gryder making most of Oaklawn

Jockey Aaron Gryder registered his first North American wins since the fall last week at Oaklawn, when he had a riding double on April 3. Gryder, who had been overseas, came in to ride at the tail end of the meet at the request of leading trainer Steve Asmussen. He has mounts here Saturday in both stakes, including Berberis in the Arkansas Derby.

"It's nice when someone asks you to come in for the week, and you're on five, six horses a day for them," Gryder said. "It gives you a lot of action. It gives you a lot of exposure, and it's a lot of fun."

Gryder was invited to ride in Hong Kong last November, and from there traveled back and forth to Dubai a few times. He also rode some in Saudi Arabia. Gryder does not have set plans beyond the current meet, other than to spend a little time with his children in California.

Forster looking to leave a winner

Trainer Grant Forster is headed back to Monmouth Park this summer and before that will stop off at Churchill Downs. However, he hopes to make off with Oaklawn's traditional finale, the Trail's End, a starter allowance at 1 3/4 miles, before leaving town.

Forster will send out Mandurah, a gelding by A.P. Indy who is a full brother to Flashing, winner of the Grde 1 Test. This will be his sixth start of the meet. Mandurah has won two of his last three starts.

"He's related to the Test winner," Forster said. "The Test. The Trail's End. They're pretty much the same. They begin with a 'T.' "

Forster also has Quiet Thanks in Saturday's eighth race, a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles. Quiet Thanks finished last in his most-recent start March 25, but Forster said the race is a throw-out.

"He stepped on a shoe in the paddock, then was real bad in the gate," Forster said. "He got himself all worked up."

* Craig Lytel, the stakes coordinator at Oaklawn, will be Jon Court's agent in Kentucky.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman