04/21/2010 11:00PM

Ulwellings ready for their claims to pay off


Ask trainer Mike Biehler why Stachys was claimed in his debut, and he ll tell you, Those owners really like to claim first-time starters.

They should. Al and Bill Ulwelling do well claiming first-time starters. Very well.

With two entrants in the $60,000 Golden Circle, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds at Prairie Meadows on Saturday, the Ulwellings seem poised to reap a return on their investments.

Backtrack, whom they claimed for $25,000 out of a winning debut in February, won a conditioned allowance at the Fair Grounds by a length in his next start, earning an 87 Beyer, the highest in Saturday s field. Trained by Gary Scherer, Backtrack disappointed in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in his last start and should improve in his return to six furlongs.

The Ulwellings other entrant, Stachys, trained by Biehler, was claimed for $30,000 out of his 14 1/4-length debut win at Remington Park. In his last start, an allowance going a mile and 40 yards at Fair Grounds, Stachys finished third, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. On Wednesday, Biehler expressed confidence in his charge and said Stachys s performance will depend on how he ships.

With speedsters Stachys and Chicks a Flyin in the race, it seems appropriate that trainer Kenny Smith has been teaching Overthehump about pacing himself.

I really liked his first out at Hot Springs, but he was a little hot, Smith said. In his next start we took him back, then the other day he rated off the pace really nice. He s flexible. If it is slow he can run on it, if fast he can run off it.

Smith said Overthehump has been improving physically and mentally since winning his maiden in his debut at Prairie Meadows 11 months ago.