02/03/2010 12:00AM

Uh Oh Bango targets Oaklawn's Derby preps


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Uh Oh Bango, who put up the highest Beyer Speed Figure for a 2-year-old colt in 2009, is being pointed to the 3-year-old series at Oaklawn.

Trainer Kory Owens said earlier this week that he is targeting Oaklawn's Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel on March 13 as the horse's first start of the year. Uh Oh Bango last raced Dec. 4, when he finished second by a neck in the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. He was freshened after that race and had his second work back Tuesday at his Turf Paradise base in Phoenix.

"He went an easy five-eighths in 1:03.20," Owens said. "He's done well. We gave him a breather after his last start. He had a nice five-eighths, and I'd like to get a good three-quarters in him before we ship. Weather permitting, we'll be there by mid-month."

Owens said he wants to ship Uh Oh Bango in early in order to give him a chance to work over the Oaklawn surface before the Rebel. The race, which will be run over 1 1/16 miles, is the final local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Uh Oh Bango earned a 102 Beyer for his win in the $53,000 Prairie Meadows Freshman in September. He made his two-turn debut one start later and was second by a length in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs. Uh Oh Bango then shipped to Delta and dueled to the wire with winner Rule.

He is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Ez Dreamer, who will accompany Uh Oh Bango to Oaklawn. Owens, who trains both horses for their breeder, the Triple AAA Ranch, said Ez Dreamer is scheduled to run in the Phoenix Gold Cup at Turf Paradise on Feb. 13 before heading to Oaklawn. His Oaklawn goals are the $60,000 Hot Springs Stakes on March 20 and the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap on April 9.

Return to dirt for Acting Zippy

Acting Zippy, who gave trainer Don Bennett the most prestigious win of his career Saturday night in the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at Sam Houston, is headed back to dirt for his next start. Bennett said his goal is to run Acting Zippy, a five-time stakes winner on the main track, in either the New Orleans Handicap or the Oaklawn Handicap.

"Those are the two races we're considering, but we'll probably run him someplace in between," Bennett said.

The most logical spot, he said, would be the Grade 3, $100,000 Mineshaft at Fair Grounds on Feb. 20. But another race that will be considered is the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback at Oaklawn on March 13. Both races are preps, the Razorback for the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 3 and the Mineshaft for the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on March 27.

Acting Zippy is one of 11 horses Bennett has in training at Sam Houston. Acting Zippy went over $500,000 in earnings with his victory in the Connally, and is a perfect 2 for 2 in 2010. Bennett owns the horse with Carl Bowling.

Premier Night champs seek repeats

Star Guitar and Superior Storm, who both have had strangleholds on their respective Louisiana-bred divisions, will run Saturday night on the $1 million Premier Night program at Delta Downs. The card, which was drawn Wednesday, features six stakes and four rich starter races for Louisiana-breds. The program will have a special first post of 5:40 p.m. Central.

Star Guitar will be defending his title in the $200,000 Premier Night Championship, which will go as the 10th race on an 11-race card. He will break from post 7 in a field of 10 in the 1 1/16-mile race and will be ridden by Curt Bourque. Star Guitar last raced Dec. 19 and won the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds.

Superior Storm is seeking her second win in the $150,000 Premier Night Distaff, which will go as the eighth race. She will break from post 5 in a field of nine, under jockey Luis Quinonez. There are nine fillies and mares in the one-mile race. Superior Storm won the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies at Fair Grounds in her last start, Dec. 12.

* The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association will award three $1,000 scholarships to college students during Premier Night. They will be awarded via a drawing following the seventh race, the $125,000 Premier Night Starlet.

* Peter Lurie, an analyst for HRTV, will be part of the simulcast broadcast of Premier Night with track announcer Don Stevens. Mike Soileau, sports director for Gator 99.5 FM in Lake Charles, La., will be broadcasting live at Delta from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

* Delta has canceled two $100,000 open-company route stakes for older horses at the end of its meet, the Goddess and the Gulf Coast Classic. The races were to have shared a card March 5.