Wertheimer and Frere's Olmodavor, third last time out against Star Cross and Nose the Trade in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita, ships to Fair Grounds and will be the 121-pound highweight in Sunday's Whirlaway Handicap (gr. III). The Whirlaway, run at 1 1/16 miles over the main track, was a key race to last year's handicap division as Balto Star defeated eventual Horse of the Year Mineshaft by 2 1/2 lengths.
Olmodavor will face eight older runners in the Whirlaway, including co-second highweights Total Impact and Spanish Empire.
Trained by Richard Mandella, Olmodavor hails from the same connections as champion 2-year-old filly Halfbridled. He brings a 4-3-1 slate into the Whirlaway from 10 career starts and has earned $357,540. In his last start of 2003 he captured the Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park. In his lone start outside Southern California, he was second to Mineshaft in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) over this track last March.
The 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy is out of the El Gran Senor mare Corrazona.
Spanish Empire, a 4-year-old son of Pleasant Colony -- La Paz, by Hold Your Peace, is owned by Jubilee Stable, Martin Cherry, and Twin Creeks Farm. The dark bay or brown colt was bred by John R. Gaines Thoroughbreds and Twin Creeks Farm. He has a 4-2-2 record from 12 career starts and has earned $157,714.
In his last start, Spanish Empire pulled away late to win the 1 1/16-miles Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds on Jan. 2 for the meet's leading trainer Steve Asmussen. Eddie Martin Jr., who was aboard Spanish Empire for the first time in the Louisiana Handicap, returns in the saddle. Whirlaway Handicap (gr. III), $100,000, Fair Grounds, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles, approx. post time 3:41 p.m. EST
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1, Total Impact, 118, Shane Sellers
2, Spanish Empire, 118, Eddie Martin Jr.
3, El Ruller, 114, Calvin Borel
4, Classic Par, 114, Curt Bourque
5, M B Sea, 117, Robby Albarado
6, G. W.'s Skippie, 115, Frank Lovato Jr.
7, Almuhathir, 114, Larry Melancon
8, Kodema, 114, Jose Martinez Jr.
9, Olmodavor, 121, Corey Lanerie