11/21/2016 12:50PM

Weekend Hideaway in sharp form for Fabulous Strike Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Phil Serpe said Weekend Hideaway will likely run in Wednesday's Fabulous Strike Stakes rather than the Fall Highweight at Aqueduct.

Penn National’s Wednesday evening races are a good way to jump-start this holiday weekend. The card is the Grantville, Pa., track’s second-best of the year, and includes three stakes with combined purses of $400,000.

First post is 6:05 p.m. Eastern, and the stakes - all are competitive - will run as the second, third, and fourth races. The featured $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap will close them out just before 7:30 p.m.

A 50-cent pick four begins on race 1, a $5,000 claiming race. The three stakes are races 2-4 and are followed by a second-level optional-claiming race. Rolling daily doubles start on the opener, and rolling pick threes begin on race 2.

The entire program will be streamed live on DRF.com.

Weekend Hideaway is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the Fabulous Strike. He was entered and scratched from Saturday’s $250,000 De Francis Dash at Laurel Park and also is entered in the $200,000 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving.

“We are planning on running in the Fabulous Strike,” trainer Phil Serpe said Monday. “I am meeting with my owner Mike Hoffman to discuss both races, but we are leaning towards Penn National.”

:: Penn National: Get PPs, watch Wednesday's card live

At age 6, Weekend Hideaway is arguably having his best season. He has won two New York-bred stakes, the Commentator and the Affirmed Success, and finished third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh, beaten two lengths. In his most recent race, he finished second by a half-length in the Hudson Handicap to reigning Finger Lakes Horse of the Year Breakin the Fever. Those two staged a long battle over a sloppy track, with Weekend Hideaway along the inside.

“He liked the track, it’s just the rail was the wrong place to be that day,” Serpe said.

Weekend Hideaway is the 121-pound highweight in the six-furlong Fabulous Strike Handicap and will spot his opponents from one to eight pounds.

His chief opponents in a deep field are Trouble Kid, Awesome Speed, Chublicious, Chief Lion, and Easy to Say.

Fabulous Strike Handicap, Race 4

Key Contenders

Weekend Hideaway, by Speightstown
Last 3 Beyers: 92-100-93

◗ He is 11 for 35 in his career, and a win would put him close to $1 million in earnings.

Trouble Kid, by Harlan’s Holiday
Last 3 Beyers: 104-34-85

◗ He has had an up-and-down season, but on Nov. 1 blazed six furlongs in 1:08.63 while winning a no-conditions allowance race at Parx Racing by 11 1/2 lengths. He has since worked a bullet five furlongs for trainer Ramon Preciado.

Awesome Speed, by Awesome Again
Last 3 Beyers: 94-70-83

◗ A 3-year-old trained by Alan Goldberg, he was scratched last Saturday out of the $100,000 City of Laurel against his own age group. This will be his first race against older rivals.

◗ Ran well for fourth in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob while making his first start in four months, and can take a step forward here.

Chublicious, by Hey Chub
Last 3 Beyers: 91-92-103

◗ He had a good summer at Monmouth for trainer Jorge Navarro and will be making his debut here for Claudio Gonzalez.

◗ He has been working up a storm at Laurel and his stalking style is a plus.

Chief Lion, by Wildcat Heir
Last 3 Beyers: 76-89-81

◗ The race’s second highweight at 120 pounds, he scored a sharp victory two starts back in a no-conditions allowance at Parx Racing. Most recently, he finished a well-beaten fourth to Trouble Kid.

Easy to Say, by Eskendereya
Last 3 Beyers: 93-98-80

◗ He has started only twice this year and will be making his first start in three months.

◗ He is a sleeper here off a win in an optional claimer at Monmouth in July and a third with traffic issues in the Tale of the Cat at Saratoga in August.