03/05/2012 3:58PM

Aqueduct: Inflation Target stretching out


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After Hansen’s authoritative three-length victory in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes, there likely will be several new shooters taking him on in next month’s $1 million Wood Memorial. Perhaps one of those new faces will emerge from Wednesday’s $67,000 first-level allowance feature for 3-year-olds going a mile and 70 yards over Aqueduct’s inner track.

The race was expected to be the first start against winners for Street Life, a visually impressive maiden victor here on Feb. 11. Trainer Chad Brown said Monday, however, that Street Life missed a recent workout because of inclement weather and will scratch from Wednesday’s race and point for the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel on March 17.

That reduces the field to eight and probably opens things up as far as the wagering is concerned.

Inflation Target, who like Hansen is a son of Tapit, stretches out for the first time after sprinting twice. He finished third in his debut on New Year’s Day, a race in which he raced greenly in the stretch but was beaten only a length by Beggarthyneighbor, who came back to win the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel on Jan.28.

Inflation Target came back on Feb. 4 and won a maiden race by 1 3/4 lengths, running six furlongs in 1:10.82 and earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. Trainer Rick Violette believes Inflation Target has wanted to go two turns all along.

“He’s supposed to go on,” Violette said. “I almost was going to run him long first time out. A month before I actually ran him, he didn’t do anything with any speed, I was like, ‘Whoa, I thought he had talent.’ The last half-mile I breezed him out of the gate, I said ‘Okay, I can sprint him.’ Now, he’s got two sprints under his belly and he should be ready to go two turns.”

David Cohen rides Inflation Target.

Two Seventeen finished second in this condition as the 4-5 favorite on Feb. 3 after winning his two-turn dirt debut on Jan. 15 by 3 3/4 lengths. Trainer Bruce Levine admitted to being a bit disappointed that Two Seventeen got beaten last out, but thought he might have gotten to the front prematurely.

“I thought he’d move a little forward off his maiden win,” Levine said. “But he’s training good, and doing good.”

Levine didn’t think the outside post would impact Two Seventeen, because “he’s got enough tactical speed to get position.”

Ramon Dominguez, who now has a 19-win lead in the jockey standings with four weeks left in the meet, rides Two Seventeen.

Panthtro came out of a hot open maiden sprint at Gulfstream to win a pair of races restricted to New York-breds, both at six furlongs over the inner track. He is by Discreet Cat out of a Touch Gold mare, so he should be able to handle this distance.

Summer Sunset and Whistleblower are other contenders in the field.


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