08/05/2009 11:00PM

Wild Promises and Victorina an odds-on entry


It's hard not to like defending champion Wild Promises in Saturday's $50,000 Luther Burbank Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race was No. 3 in a six-stakes win streak she reeled off last year and this year, culminating in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Jan. 24 at Gulfstream. She's coupled in the wagering with Victorina, the winner of 10 stakes, which makes for a short price in a race that has five betting interests.

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich was concerned that there might not be many willing to run against Wild Promises and assigned her 126 pounds, a figure he suggested might have been higher had the 5-year-old mare not run 10th in her last start, the Grade 3 Honey Fox at Gulfstream on March 7.

Victorina, who has a second and third in her two turf starts, got 123 pounds, six more than Shes a Lucky Wager.

For Wild Promises and Victorina, Saturday's comeback race is merely a stepping-stone. Greg Gilchrist, who trains both, has said that his runners are never at their best in their first start following a layoff.

Still, Wild Promises has too much speed and class for her rivals. Though she has won from off the lead, Wild Promises will probably get it with relative ease on Saturday as Victorina maintains a stalking position.

Victorina comes off victories in the Jan. 2 Paseana at Santa Anita and the Feb. 7 Campanile at Golden Gate Fields. She was injured and scratched from the March 8 Ocala Stakes at Gulfstream.

Wild Promises and Victorina, both owned by the Estate of Harry J. Aleo, could run one-two the entire way.

New Zealand-bred Pams Pompallier gets in at 115 for her U.S. debut. To be ridden by Russell Baze, she won a listed stakes in her native country and was beaten less than one length in a Grade 1 race there.

Princess Hiawatha, who scored her initial victory against winners in a $40,000 starter allowance on July 10, gets in at 111. Rhythm in My Life, a maiden, gets in at 105. The 3-year-old filly is guaranteed $1,000 if she starts, which would nearly double her current career earnings of $1,750.