Updated on 09/16/2011 6:48AM

Wannabes stuff FG Whirlaway gate


NEW ORLEANS - Everyone wants a shot at the handicap division. A day after a gate of 14 was set to run in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, 10 older horses face off in the $125,000 Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The Whirlaway is the final prep for the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap, which at this stage figures to come up a wide-open race. Consider the lack of standouts in the handicap division currently, and you'll see why so many horses are in the Donn as well as the Whirlaway.

The 1 1/16-mile Whirlaway is the fourth in Fair Grounds's handicap division series. The winners of the first two races, Valhol and San Pedro, and Drewman, the second-place finisher in the Diplomat Way Handicap, return for the Whirlaway. The list of new shooters is headed by the California shipper Milwaukee Brew, who is trying to regain his form from two seasons ago in his first start for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Pat Day thinks enough of Drewman's chances to travel here from his Gulfstream Park base, and why not? With only seven starts, the 4-year-old Drewman, an Unbridled colt bred along the same lines as Unbridled's Song, is brimming with upside. Drewman is one of three horses in the barn of trainer Hal Williams, the grandson of Frances Genter, Unbridled's owner.

Day was aboard Drewman last year when the colt reeled off three straight wins in Kentucky, and judging from his race in the Diplomat Way the colt has made a good transition from age 3 to 4. With only a sprint prep race under his belt, Drewman battled on a quick pace in the Diplomat Way, put away the other pace horses and surged clear at the eighth pole, only to be collared in the final strides by the talented horse, Crafty Shaw.

Williams wants badly for Drewman to stalk the pace rather than lead on Sunday, and with two speed horses entered in the Whirlaway, post 9, and Day, a master of taking back, Williams should get his wish.

Valhol, to be ridden for the first time by Robby Albarado, skipped the Diplomat Way to prepare for this start and has been turning in sharp work after sharp work here for trainer Dallas Keen. Valhol's connections thought he fell to far off the early pace when he finished third in the Louisiana Handicap, and Valhol is certain to be closer on Sunday.

Like Valhol, San Pedro, the Louisiana Handicap winner, skipped the Diplomat Way to point for this start.

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