By Karen M. Johnson
Marital Asset is a newcomer to the stakes scene, but the A.P. Indy colt is coming off a pair of handy allowance wins and that could make him a player in the $100,000 Queens County Handicap (gr.III) at Aqueduct Dec. 8.
Six were entered in the Queens County to be run at 1 3/16-miles on the inner track. Barcola, coming off a sixth-place finish in the Stuyvesant Handicap (gr.III) on Aqueduct's main track, is the 116-pound highweight.
The Queens County field includes the Stuyvesant winner, Hunting, who came from off the pace to win the 1 1/8-mile race by a length at odds of nearly 10-1.
Evening Attire, the 2001 Queens County winner and third-place finisher in the Stuyvesant, is also among the runners.
Marital Asset, trained by Tony Dutrow and owned by Edward P. Evans, impressively won a maiden race on Aqueduct's inner track in March. Since that race, the 4-year-old homebred lost five in a row before winning back-to-back starts at Philadelphia Park. Both of those wins came in seven-furlong races, but Marital Asset's maiden score came around two turns and he is bred to go a route.
"I'm hoping the A.P. Indy comes out in him," said Dutrow, who began training Marital Asset a month before his first allowance win in October. "This is a big step up in class and there is the added distance, but there is a lot to gain by attempting this now, when he is in great form."
Ramon Dominguez rides Marital Asset, who drew post six. Marital Asset, whose stalking style should place him in a good position to pounce if a speed duel materializes, carries 113 pounds.
Mark Hennig, who formerly trained Marital Asset, saddles Barcola, a multiple stakes winner at Delaware Park. Barcola set the pace in the Nov. 17 Stuyvesant before tiring and finishing last in the field of six.
"The inner track seems more conducive to his style," Hennig said. "He was hustled a little more than I preferred in the Stuyvesant. I'm hoping the inner (track) is less to the liking of Hunting's style, because it is harder to come from off the pace on that track. This is short rest (for Barcola), and shorter than I prefer, but you have to take the opportunities when they come."
Eibar Coa, who rode Barcola earlier this year, regains the mount. Barcola starts from post 4.
Barracuda Boy, a graded winner on Woodbine's synthetic surface, also figures to be a pace factor.
Evening Attire finished with energy to gain third in the Stuyvesant after hesitating at the start, a trait the 9-year-old gelding developed this year. Evening Attire, a winner of more than $2.6 million, seeks his first win since taking the ungraded Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct in March.
Nkosi Reigns, a graded winner at Calder, will race with blinkers off.
$100,000 Queens County Handicap (gr. III, race 8, approximate post 3:44 p.m.) 1 1/16-miles for 3-year-olds and upward, inner track
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Nkosi Reigns, 114, John Velazquez
2. Hunting, 115, Alan Garcia
3. Evening Attire, 115, Edgar Prado
4. Barcola, 116, Eibar Coa
5. Barracuda Boy, 115, Charles Lopez
6. Marital Asset, 113, Ramon Dominguez