Like its filly counterpart last weekend, the $100,000 Woodchopper Handicap had horsemen pounding down the racing office Thursday as Saturday's feature race drew a full field of 14 with two exclusions. Like the Pago Hop Stakes last Saturday, the Woodchopper is a turf race restricted to three-year-olds. It comes 10 days before the Jan. 1 birthday for all Thoroughbreds. Fan Club's Mister drew post 14 and will run as the 120-pound highweight under Craig Perret. Owned by Miessler-Raber Partners and trained by Rickey Harris, Fan Club's Mister held some esteemed company this summer, winning the Grade II American Derby at Arlington Park. Fan Club's Mister has worked steadily for his return since finishing second in the last jump in a turf overnight handicap at Arlington on Sept. 16. Graded stakes-placed Dynameaux drew a better post position (3) for trainer Steve Asmussen. Dynameaux showed his versatility with a front-running win on a sloppy track on Nov. 24. Curt Bourque gains the mount on the son of Dynaformer, who has two wins from three starts on the Stall-Wilson turf course. A wild card in this field is Bowman Mill, trained by Michael Dickinson. Bowman Mill has spent his four-race career on the grass, winning his first two starts before jumping into stakes company on the East coast. Bowman Mill, off since Oct. 22, fired a big effort as the runner-up in the Grade III Kentucky Breeders' Cup at Delaware in July.
Robby Albarado will ride the son of Kris S. The rest of the field includes (with jockeys) Island Guide (Kirk LeBlanc), making his stakes debut for Larry Robideaux; Governor's Cup Handicap winner Rare Cure (Ronald Ardoin), trained by Joe Petalino; Mercenary (Donnie Meche); Image (Willie Martinez); Autobot Stakes winner Mystery Giver (Eddie Martin Jr.); Magic Flute (Larry Melancon); Bundy Rum (Del Loveland); Lord Livermore (Steve Asmussen); Even The Score (Lonnie Meche); Almost Home (Gerard Melancon), and First Spear (Kent Desormeaux).