Updated on 09/16/2011 7:51AM

Affirmed Success no slam dunk

NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Affirmed Success concedes considerable weight in the General George.

LAUREL, Md. - Unlike two years ago, when Affirmed Success looked every bit the 1-2 favorite winning the Grade 2 General George Handicap, there are legitimate concerns regarding his chances in Monday's renewal of the $200,000 General George at Laurel Park.

Affirmed Success, now 8 years old, has spent the last two years unsuccessfully chasing the Breeders' Cup Mile on turf. Since winning the General George, Affirmed Success is 1 for 4 on dirt, his win coming in the off-the-turf Jaipur Handicap.

Affirmed Success is coming off his first career loss in allowance company after blowing a three-length lead in the stretch of a two-turn race over Aqueduct's inner track. And, as the 121-pound highweight Monday, Affirmed Success is conceding four to 10 pounds to seven rivals, which include up-and-coming sprinters Wrangler and Here's Zealous.

Even Richard Schosberg, trainer of Affirmed Success, enters the race with some trepidation.

"We're not going down there thinking that we're just going to clean up," Schosberg said. "I'm hoping for a good race. I hope he wins it, but he's going to have to run a heck of a race to win it. At equal weights he'd have to run a heck of a race to win it. I think the fact we're carrying more weight, it's going to be tough to win it. But, he's training as good as he's ever trained, he's looking good, he's acting good, his weight is good."

On the positive side, Affirmed Success is running at his best distance of seven furlongs. In nine starts at the distance, Affirmed Success has a 5-3-1 record, including four graded stakes victories. He will break from post 4 under Richard Migliore.

Here's Zealous, winner of the Gravesend Handicap on Dec. 15, and Wrangler, winner of the Paumonok Handicap on Jan. 26, loom the major threats.

Since coming to Richard Dutrow's barn, Here's Zealous is 4-1-1 from seven starts, including two impressive victories at seven furlongs. He skipped the Paumonok by design and has been training strongly at Aqueduct.

Wrangler, who has paired up Beyer Speed Figures of 110 in his last two starts, could work out a dream trip from post 7 under Aaron Gryder. He has won five of his last seven starts, though he is unproven at seven furlongs.

Jimmy Jerkens, who trains Wrangler, also sends out Voodoo, who has not raced since Nov. 22, when he finished third in the Fall Highweight Handicap.

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