04/02/2008 11:00PM

White Spar must answer one question


PHOENIX – There’s little doubt White Spar is one of the top Arizona-bred sprinters on dirt. The $40,000 Arizona Stallion Stakes at Turf Paradise on Saturday gives him the opportunity to expand his domain, as he tries turf for the first time. The race for 3-year-olds sired by Arizona-based stallions is slated at about 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf, and lured a field of seven.

Owned by Dennis Weir and trained by Kevin Lewis, White Spar has been very effective through five races. He won his maiden in the Arizona Breeders’ Futurity in the slop Dec. 1 and then was second, beaten a neck by the very tough El Mirage, in the Lost in the Fog here Dec. 29. He then tried a route for the first time in the one-mile Rattlesnake on Jan. 20. He was sent off as the 2-5 favorite, but after dueling for the lead faltered to finish fourth.

White Spar bounced back when moved back to a sprint, easily taking an optional claimer here at 3-5 on Feb. 19. He’s been given plenty of time since and boasts some smart recent works. His grandsire, Septieme Ciel, was a top-class turf runner in Europe, so he has some pedigree support for turf. Sandi Gann rides.

Should White Spar not adjust to the surface, Stormy Highland looms as the horse to beat. Stormy Highland is already proven on turf. He was fourth on this course at about 7 1/2 furlongs Dec. 15, and comes off a strong second at about a mile on this course last time out against optional claimers March?18. Miguel Hernandez rides.

Buck’s Blush pressed the pace and stayed on to be second in his first grass attempt here Feb. 29, which was against $20,000 claimers at the about 7 1/2 furlongs of Saturday’s race. He stepped up here March 18 to face optional claimers at about a mile on the turf and finished fifth. Stormy Highland was second in that race. Vince Guerra rides.