A pair of horses relocated from two of the most competitive racetracks in the United Stakes help make this edition of the six furlong $25,000 Budweiser-Tondi Stakes at Fonner Park this afternoon an interesting matchup.
Battle Hardened, claimed out of his last race from Ramsey Farm, finally got back on the winning path in his last, dominating a Churchill Downs $5000 claiming race by 15 lengths after being dropped precipitously down the class ladder. The 6-year old son of Giant’s Causeway was promptly laid off for nearly six months. His return to racing under the Why Not Us Racing banner comes after two solid works, one a five furlong bullet in 1:03.2. If the rest has brought the gelding back to the form which earned him over $200,000 in his career, he could be dangerous, but there had to have been a reason he was dropped so steeply by the Ramsey’s in his first race off the $16,000 claim.
Another in the Tondi coming from storied ground, with a more recent start under his belt, is another 12-1 outsider coming in from Gulfstream Park, Elusive Blueboy. Elusive Blueboy’s last win came back in September in a $25,000 Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream. In his three subsequent starts, the 4-year old Bluegrass Cat colt has struggled to find its form, running evenly, though not threateningly. Claimed for $25,000 by Black Diamond Stables, this will be his first trip over the Fonner strip.
Tribal Dreams started his 2015 season with a 2nd in the Grasmick and a win in a $11,000 allowance race. Tribal Dreams will tackle the invaders from just off the pace with both having done their best running on the lead. In fine form and experienced over the oval, Tribal Dreams was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite.
Narrowly defeated by Tribal Dreams in his seasonal and local debut, El Grande Rojo tired in the late stages of the $11,000 allowance and was unable to cap off his closing kick in the late stages. With a race under his belt, El Grand Rojo will be a factor late, especially if the early pace can stay quick.
The Budweiser-Tondi Stakes is the 9th on the card with a tentative post time of 5:22 PM Central Time