Three grade I winners and six other rivals are scheduled to contest Saturday's $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II) at Suffolk Downs. Mongoose, winner of this January's Donn Handicap (gr. I), Include, winner of the 2001 Pimlico Special (gr. I), and Macho Uno, winner of the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) are the most recognizable names among the contenders for Saturday's nine-furlong race.
However, Mongoose hasn't raced since finishing second to Hal's Hope in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I) in March. Macho Uno has only one start this year, a March 23 winning effort in a Gulfstream Park allowance. Of this trio, Include has the most recent form, with a nine-length win April 20 in the nine-furlong Jennings Handicap at Pimlico. Grover Delp conditions Include for his breeder, Robert Meyerhoff. Mongoose comes from H. James Bond's New York barn, and Joe Orseno brings Frank Stronach's homebred Macho Uno to Boston.
Four other stakes winners are expected to join the fray, and this could be a good opportunity for up-and-comers Evening Attire, John Little, and Compelling World to make their abilities known. Evening Attire has three graded stakes victories to his credit, including this year's Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III). He last raced at Aqueduct on May 2 and won a nine-furlong allowance in the slop. Compelling World's last start was his first victory in stakes company. He notched a 4 3/4-length win in the April 28 Kings Point Handicap, also run at 1 1/8 miles. John Little comes into the event off a neck win over Windsor Castle in the April 6 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III), his first placing in added-money company. Deborah Bodner owns and trains John Little, a lightly raced 4-year-old with seven wins in 15 starts.
Local hopes rest on 6-year-old Soes Bandit and 5-year-old Special Terms. Soes Bandit has 13 wins in 57 starts, including a May 18 victory at Suffolk. He is trained for J D Racing Stable by Donald Sheldon. Special Terms just eked out a victory in his first start of the year, an 8.32-mile allowance at Suffolk on May 13.
Also joining the fray is New York-based Griffinite (trained by Joe Aquilano for Paraneck Stable).
The field, from the rail out, with jockeys, weights, and morning line odds:
1. Soes Bandit, Ender Jimenez, 110, 20-1
2. Macho Uno, Gary Stevens, 117, 2-1
3. Griffinite, no rider named, 111, 20-1
4. Evening Attire, Shaun Bridgmohan, 114, 8-1
5. Compelling World, Raul Rojas, 110, 20-1
6. Mongoose, Edgar Prado, 116, 3-1
7. Include, Jerry Bailey, 120, 9-5
8. John Little, Norberto Arroyo Jr., 112, 10-1
9. Special Terms, Edwin Molinari, 109, 20-1