Handicapper's Edge

Return to Home Page

Phone: (800)354-9206
edit.staff@brisnet.com

 
 Printer Friendly Page 

Researcher seeks rare Queens County repeat

Researcher returns to Aqueduct after dominating at Charles Town this season (Melissa Wirth/Horsephotos.com)

Saturday's $100,000 Queens County H. (G3) is the final graded event of the New York season and the only one contested over Aqueduct's inner dirt during the track's fall meet. The logical favorite in the 1 3/16-mile feature is RESEARCHER (Two Smart), who captured the Queens County a year ago by a half-length.

Researcher entered the 2008 Queens County off a strong victory in the Mountaineer Mile, where he earned a 112 BRIS Speed rating. He turned in another stellar effort in the Queens County and was rewarded with a 108 Speed rating. The five-year-old gelding's success has been limited to races at Charles Town this season, however, with all three wins occurring at the West Virginia oval. Among these were the lucrative Charles Town Classic, and the H.B.P.A. Governor's Cup for a second consecutive year. Researcher will attempt to rebound from a second-place effort in this year's Mountaineer Mile, with John Velazquez riding for trainer Jeff Runco.

In a race that dates to 1902, only two other horses have won back-to-back renewals of the Queens County. Halcyon was the first to do so in 1931-32, while Three Rings was the last to accomplish the feat in 1949-50. Roamer (1915, 1918) and Evening Attire (2001, 2007) are the only other two-time winners of the race.

HONOUR DEVIL (Arg) (Honour and Glory), whose biggest claim to fame was winning the 2008 U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2), seeks his first North American stakes win. Runner-up in the Mr. Right S. in his U.S. debut, Honour Devil was third in his next start prior to winning a November 19 allowance/optional claimer that served as a make-up race of sorts for older runners left out in the cold when the Stuyvesant H. (G3) was canceled due to a lack of sufficient entries. Arthur Magnuson, assistant to the suspended Kiaran McLaughlin, will give a leg up to Alan Garcia on Saturday.

The lightly-raced STORM PLAY (Smart Strike) reeled off wins in his first three starts a year ago before fading to sixth in the 2008 Cigar Mile (G1). His lone interim start was in a September 18 allowance/optional claimer where he faltered to fourth behind champion juvenile Midshipman (Unbridled's Song).

Others of note in the Queens County are 2008 Empire Classic winner STUD MUFFIN (Raffie's Majesty); Grade 2 veteran NAUGHTY NEW YORKER (Quiet American); and RODMAN (Malibu Moon), who has earned Speed ratings of 106, 95 and 97 in taking his last three starts on dirt.

Saturday's card also features the $65,000 Snit S., which was rescheduled from Wednesday's canceled program. The 1 1/16-mile event is for fillies and mares that have not won an open stakes in 2009.


 


Send this article to a friend