Top Sprinters Collide in Vosburgh
by Pete Spanos
Date Posted: 9/30/2004 4:40:39 PM
Last Updated: 10/2/2004 1:17:26 PM

Three of the nation's top sprinters will vie for supremacy in the 65th edition of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday, Oct. 2. What looked like a true Breeders' Cup field before the defection of grade I winner Midas Eyes, still has major implications for the Lone Star affair, just over four weeks away.

Eugene and Laura Melnyk's 6-year-old Speightstown comes in with an unblemished record in 2004 and is seemingly getting better with age. He carries John Velazquez and a four-race win streak into the six-furlong contest, a distance he has won at four times.

Bred in Kentucky by Aaron and Marie Jones, the son of Gone West dazzled last time out in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (gr. II) at Saratoga Aug. 14, earning a 117 Beyer Speed Figure, the second highest figure posted this year at a mile or under. Ghostzapper earned a 120 Beyer in the July 4 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont.

Speightstown runs for the nation's leading conditioner Todd Pletcher. He has two wins on the Belmont surface and should show early speed as he heads out from just off the rail in the 2-hole.

Breaking from the six post will be Gary Tanaka's Brazilian-bred Pico Central. The 5-year-old son of Spend a Buck scored earlier this year in the Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 10 at seven furlongs, and followed that up with a victory in the one-mile Metropolitan Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont May 31.

He comes in off a third-place finish behind Kela and Domestic Dispute in the seven-furlong O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Aug. 15 at Del Mar. Bred by Haras Fronteira, Pico Central is trained by Paulo Lobo and retains the services of Victor Espinoza.

Trainer Bobby Frankel will send out new charge, 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) champ, Cajun Beat, who followed up his big win at the beginning of 2004 with a score in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in January.

Bred in Kentucky by John T. L. Jones and H. Smoot Fahlgren, the 4-year-old on of Grand Slam has earned over $1 million in his six-win career, though has yet to test the deep Belmont going.

Cornelio Velasquez, aboard in the Breeders' Cup and Mr. Prospector wins, gets the call for a trip from the rail.

Bobby Frankel, even without Midas Eyes, has another Vosburgh runner in Edmund Gann's Watchem Smokey, a West Coast invader who ran first in an allowance-optional claiming race on the Belmont surface Sept. 15. The 4-year-old looks to get back to stakes winning form when he captured the Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) Handicap in November of 2003.

Bred in Oklahoma by Barbara and John Smicklas. The son of Alphabet Soup   began his career with six straight wins and should come from off the pace. He lands the services of world-killer Edgar Prado for the attempt.

A. P. Indy's half-brother, Eavesdropper (Kingmambo), ridden by Richard Migliore, and Voodoo (Petionville  ), ridden by Jorge Chavez, round out the field of six.

Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), 3-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs, $500,000, 124 pounds, Saturday, Oct. 2. Appx. Post Time 4:40 PM EDT.

PP--Horse, Jockey

1--Cajun Beat, Cornelio Velasquez
2--Speightstown, John Velazquez
3--Watchem Smokey, Edgar Prado
4--Voodoo, Jorge Chavez
5--Eavesdropper, Richard Migliore
6--Pico Central, Victor Espinoza


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