08/06/2008 11:00PM

Ziadie holding pretty neat pair


Blue Pepsi Lodge and Dukes Flying Tiger won't both run in the $55,000 Hooting Star on Saturday at Calder. But watch out for whichever one leading trainer Kirk Ziadie runs in the 5 1/2-furlong race scheduled for the turf.

With a forecast of a 50-percent chance for rain as of Thursday, Ziadie has the horse to beat come rain or shine.

Dukes Flying Tiger, a versatile 4-year-old, has made the exacta in 11 of his 22 starts. In his one turf sprint try, he won a $36,000 overnight stakes at Calder on June 28, and did it with a 91 Beyer Speed Figure, which appears good enough to win again on Saturday.

His main competition would be Mr. Silver, who has just one win in his last 14 starts, but also has four Beyer Speed Figures in the 90s in his last seven turf sprint starts.

Another entrant, Winnies Tigger Too, finished only a length behind Dukes Flying Tiger on June 28, but was clearly outfinished.

If the race goes to the main track, Blue Pepsi Lodge will bring the best Beyer Figures by far and break from the rail as the speed of the speed.

Throw out his last, a forgivable fifth in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap on July 12, and he towers over the field.

Blue Pepsi Lodge won five straight starts from December through April, was overmatched and on the wrong surface in the $214,000 Turf Sprint Handicap at Calder April 26, then won the $36,000 Champali in May. He lost by 8 3/4 lengths next out, in the $96,000 Ponche Handicap, which Ziadie blames on himself.

"He's a five-eighths or 5 1/2-furlong horse, and that race was six furlongs, a bit too far," Ziadie said. "Otherwise, he's as good as he's ever been."

Ziadie admits his hand is stronger with Blue Pepsi Lodge than Dukes Flying Tiger, but he said, "Either way, I think we've got it covered."