Updated on 09/16/2011 8:11AM

Xtra Heat warming up in Endine


A five-horse field that contains an obvious standout doesn't sound very thrilling. But when the clear-cut favorite is perhaps one step away from racing in the World Thoroughbred Championships, it's reason enough to stir up some excitement at Delaware Park.

Xtra Heat will be making what could be her last start before next month's Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Endine Stakes.

The six-furlong Endine, named after the two-time Delaware Handicap winner of 1958-59, is part of an Owners' Day program that has a special first post time of noon. There are two other stakes on the 14-race card, the $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial for fillies and mares on the turf, and the $75,000 Owners' Day Handicap for older horses on the main track.

Xtra Heat, a winner 22 of 29 starts and $1.97 million, looks like such a cinch on paper that the track's morning linemaker has established her as a prohibitive 1-5 favorite. Only four horses have dared to oppose her.

If Xtra Heat, who is entered to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton November sale, finishes at least second, she will surpass the $2 million mark in career earnings.

Trainer John Salzman said he is not certain whether he will give Xtra Heat one more prep before the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Sprint. He is considering the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong race at Belmont Park on Oct. 6.

"We could run in that race, but it's a handicap so we would probably have to carry a lot of weight in that race," Salzman said. "We will either run in the Endine and go right to the Breeders' Cup, or give her one more race and then the Breeders' Cup."

Because the Endine is run under allowance conditions, Xtra Heat is assigned only 121 pounds, the lightest burden she has carried since last November's De Francis Memorial against males.

* High Lady and Bloomy, both of whom are returning from layoffs, loom as the top threats in the 1 1/16-mile Rosenberger. High Lady will be making her first start since finishing second in the Beautiful Day Handicap on July 8. Bloomy hasn't raced since finishing second to High Lady in a turf allowance on June 23. Both mares are capable of running Beyer Speed Figures in the low 90's.

- Runpastum looks like a solid choice in the nine-furlong Owners' Day Handicap. In his most recent start, Runpastum finished third behind Cat's at Home in the Grade 2 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park, earning a 105 Beyer.

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