Small, Tight Field for Sunday's Carleton Burke

A small field of six is in prospect for Sunday's $150,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.

Bobby Frankel, who will send out Dance Dreamer in the 34th running of the Burke, has won two of the last three editions, with Timboroa in 2000 and Public Purse in 1999.

Dance Dreamer, owned by Juddmonte, is the 117-pound high weight.

Nazirali, packing 115 pounds and rider David Flores, finished fourth, beaten only 3 1/2 lengths by Breeders' Cup Turf contender The Tin Man, in the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IT) at 1 1/4 miles on Oct. 6 at Santa Anita.

It was the first race for the Irish-bred gelding, owned by Michael House and trained by Julio Canani, since winning the San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/2 miles on the grass last Feb. 16.

"He finished fourth and he was closing in the Hirsch," Canani said Wednesday morning. "That was his first race since he won the San Luis Obispo. After that, he got a sore splint and we backed off on him, but now he's back in action. He worked six furlongs Tuesday (under Flores) in 1:13.20 and it was just what I wanted. It was perfect."

Nazirali, a 5-year-old gelding son of Kahyasi, has a 3-3-0 record from seven starts, with earnings of $190,855. He has won two of four starts in the United States.

Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., who rides Rob's Spirit for trainer Laura de Seroux, is optimistic about his chances, despite finishing last on the horse in the 1 1/16-mile Harry F. Brubaker Handicap at Del Mar in his last race Aug. 23.

"He didn't have any problems in the race," Valdivia said of the 5-year-old son of Theatrical. "But he had been off for two months, and I told Laura that he just needed more distance. Now we're going a mile and a half.

"He had come in from New York before the Del Mar race. He had run at a mile and a quarter in New York, but only a mile and a sixteenth at Del Mar, which was too short for him. He should run a lot better going a mile and a half. Even though it looks like a small field, I don't think pace will matter, but the distance will. He didn't beat any horses (in his last race, eighth by 5 1/2 lengths), but he didn't get beat that far and I liked the way he galloped out."

De Seroux is winning at 26 percent this year, with 24 wins from 92 starts.

Rob's Spirit has a 4-1-2 record from 13 starts, with earnings of $246,960.

$150,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT), 1 1/2 miles on the turf, 3 & up
1. Mountain Rage, Laffit Pincay Jr., 111
2. Alyzig, Victor Victor Espinoza, 111
3. Dance Dreamer, Kent Desormeaux, 117
4. Special Matter, Tyler Baze, 110
5. Rob's Spirit, Jose Valdivia Jr., 113
6. Nazirali, David Flores, 115.