07/15/2010 12:55PM

Alcomo gets best distance in Greenwood Cup


Between three seasons racing in his native Brazil and a winter campaign this year in Dubai, Alcomo has made seven of his 26 lifetime starts in the United States. But that has been enough for him to find his niche as a specialist in ultra-long dirt races.

Alcomo, a 7-year-old whose three best races in this country have come going 1 1/2 miles, will be back at his favorite distance when he seeks to win the $250,000 Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park for the second straight year Saturday.

The Greenwood Cup is a Win and You’re In race, with the winner guaranteed a berth in this fall’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

In four starts going 12 furlongs in the U.S., Alcomo has two wins and a second. Most recently, in his first start since an unsuccessful three-race experiment on the synthetic Tapeta surface in Dubai, Alcomo got up by a nose to win the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park. He came out of a distant fifth-place finish in the 2009 Brooklyn to win the Greenwood Cup, contested over a sloppy track, by 1 3/4 lengths.

Two of the horses Alcomo defeated in the Brooklyn, Gabriel’s Hill and Stones River, are back to take another crack at him Saturday.

Gabriel’s Hill, who led for nearly the entire 1 1/2 miles in the Brooklyn before losing a head bob at the wire, will look to rebound off a poor performance on Polytrack in the Grade 2 Dominion Day at Woodbine on July 1. He gets a six-pound weight shift in his favor from Alcomo since their last meeting.

Stones River is winless in his last nine starts dating to a fourth-place finish in the 2008 Pennsylvania Derby. But he comes from the dangeorus Florida barn of Marty Wolfson and was beaten just three lengths by Alcomo in the Brooklyn. He, too, benefits from a shift in the weights and will carry eight pounds less than Alcomo, a seven-pound move in his favor since the Brooklyn.

The other three horses in the field are Marilyn’s Guy, whose trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is 2 for 2 shipping into Philly Park this season; A.U. Miner, a deep closer who gets class relief after finishing far back in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs; and Jade’s Revenge, a sharp horse who steps up for high-percentage trainer Graham Motion after winning back-to-back claiming races at Delaware Park.