02/25/2009 12:00AM

Wise Kid out to earn shot in Rebel

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Friday's ninth race at Oaklawn Park could be Wise Kid's springboard to the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel for 3-year-olds here March 14.

"That's what we're hoping for," said Tim Ritchey, who trains Wise Kid, a promising son of Lemon Drop Kid, for owner and breeder Robert S. Evans.

Wise Kid is one of eight 3-year-olds in race 9, a $62,500 optional claimer at 1o1/16 miles that carries first-level allowance conditions. He has been well regarded since he arrived at Oaklawn, going off at 3-1 in his career debut Jan.o19. Wise Kid finished second by a neck that day after drifting in the stretch. One start later, he scored a half-length win in a maiden special weight race on Feb. 5.

"Both times he wanted to lay in down the lane," said Ritchey. "He had never done it when he worked. I think he was just looking at the grandstand and the crowd."

Ritchey is making a couple of equipment changes Friday, adding blinkers and changing Wise Kid's bit. Wise Kid worked five furlongs from the gate in a strong 1:01 on Sunday, the second-fastest of 44 works at the distance that day.

In his two starts, both at 1 1/16 miles, Wise Kid closed from far back. But he could lay closer to the pace on Friday with the blinkers, said Ritchey.

Wise Kid is a big, strong, handsome chestnut out of the Seeking the Gold mare Seeking Wisdom.

"He's a very nice horse, got a good pedigree," said Ritchey. "I don't think distance will be a factor in his career at all. He has a good bottom under him, a nice, long kind of stride, and he gets over the ground pretty easy."

Jose Caraballo will ride Wise Kid, who drew gate 3.

The chief threat could be Buzzin and Dreamin, who was third to Old Fashioned in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in his last start, Feb. 16. One start prior, he won his maiden, beating Wise Kid.

D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Buzzin and Dreamin, said the colt is under consideration for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End at Turfway Park on Marcho21. Israel Ocampo will ride Buzzin and Dreamin, who will break from post 2 on Saturday.