Joe Vitello's Grade II winner Tenpins will make his seasonal debut Saturday as the 118-pound highweight against seven rivals in the $350,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows.
The Michigan-bred son of Smart Strike has not started since finishing off the board in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs last November. The Clark was one of only two losses in seven starts last year for five-year-old Tenpins.
Last season, Tenpins became a graded stakes winner with wins in the Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) in track record time, and victories in the Fayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland and William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico.
Beginning his third season of racing, Tenpins won seven of 11 starts and bankrolled $608,689 for trainer Donald Winfree.
Looming as the main competition for Tenpins are Bowman's Band and Slider.
Bowman's Band got his first win of the year in his fourth start last time out in the Brandywine Handicap at Delaware Park. The son of Dixieland Band has won six of 17 starts overall for owner Martin Schwartz and trainer Michael Matz. Last year, he won the R.R.M. Carpentar Jr. Memorial Stakes at Delaware and finished second in the Oaklawn Park Handicap (gr. I).
Slider, who finished second in this year's Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), enters off a seventh-place finish in the Aristides Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs June 21. The five-year-old son of Prenup has won 10 of 37 career starts and earned $479,315 for owner Billy Hays and trainer Joe Woodward.
The field in post position order with jockey, weight, and morning line odds:
1. Bowman's Band, Mark Guidry, 116, 5-2;
2. Slider, C.H. Marquez Jr., 114, 7-2;
3. Northwest Hills, Gary Corbett, 111, 15-1;
4. Vito Corleone, R. Tracy Jr., 111, 20-1
5. Patton's Victory, G.A. Birzer, 116, 8-1
6. Colorful Truth, Luis Quinonez, 115, 8-1
7. Tenpins, Robby Albarado, 118, 9-5
8. Woodmoon, Ray Sibile, 113, 6-1