12/26/2012 3:11PM

Aqueduct: Escapefromreality exits key maiden race to face allowance sprinters


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though he recently shipped eight horses to Gulfstream Park for the winter, trainer Dominick Schettino kept a sizeable string in New York, with the promising Escapefromreality perhaps the best of the bunch.

Friday, Escapefromreality makes his second start following a solid debut win last month when he meets seven fellow New York-bred juveniles in a first-level allowance race carded for six furlongs at Aqueduct.

Escapefromreality, a gelding by Read the Footnotes, won a maiden sprint race here on Nov. 25, dueling with favored Comandante through a half-mile in 45.17 seconds before edging away from that rival inside the sixteenth pole to win by two lengths. He ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.17 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 80.

Comandante and Knockher Off, second and third in that race, came back to run 1-2 here on Dec. 15. Iron Power, fifth behind Escapefromreality, came back to win a maiden race here on Dec. 13.

Escapefromreality, meanwhile, has come back to work twice, including a half-mile move in 47.53 seconds on Dec. 20, the fastest of 119 moves at the distance that morning.

“That was a super work the other day,” Schettino said Wednesday outside his Belmont barn. “He’s trained forwardly since he’s been here. He showed he could run.”

Though Escapefromreality won while dueling on the front end on Nov. 25, Schettino said he doesn’t believe his horse has to have the lead and anticipates Stoneless, drawn in post 5, to perhaps set the pace on Friday.

“He’s versatile. That horse will sit. He’ll do whatever you ask him to do,” Schettino said.

Ramon Dominguez, who was out of town when Escapefromreality debuted, will have the mount from the rail on Friday.

Jose Ortiz Jr., who rode Escapefromreality in his debut, will be aboard Stoneless, who won his debut for maiden $50,000 claimers at Saratoga in August and has competed in stakes since.

Lucci the Lion, also a debut winner at Saratoga, finished fourth with trouble in the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes at Belmont in October.

◗ In the eighth race, Sage d’Oro looks to bounce back from a fifth-place finish in her last start when she faces nine rivals in a 1 1/16-mile first-level optional $25,000 claimer.

Sage d’Oro, who displayed talent in Southern California, stumbled at the break here on Nov. 20 and tired chasing the pace. She was making her first start in more than seven months. Sage d’Oro has come back with a strong workout and gets the services of Dominguez.

“I think she’s trained better since she ran,” trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said.

Dutrow also runs Rhonin Victoria, who steps up off a win for $15,000 claiming. Shesabronxbomber goes first off the Rudy Rodriguez claim.