03/29/2011 2:46PM

Aqueduct: Lots of Stones looks like lone speed in short field

Barbara D. Livingston
Lots of Stones is expected to set the pace in Thursday’s $60,000 Ruby Rubles overnight stakes at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Although she faded to third behind runner-up Big Brownie in the recent Broadway Stakes, Lots of Stones has been pegged as the even-money favorite over that rival for their rematch in Thursday’s $60,000 Ruby Rubles overnight stakes.

Lots of Stones had a six-race winning streak snapped in the Broadway when she chased multiple stakes winner Meese Rocks through moderate fractions as the second choice and was overtaken in the stretch for second by Big Brownie, who was the longest shot on the board at 18-1.

The absence of Meese Rocks this time leaves Lots of Stones potentially loose on the lead against four rivals in the Ruby Rubles, a six-furlong dash for New York-bred fillies and mares carded as race 3.

“She made a run but emptied out,” trainer Bruce Levine said of Lots of Stone’s effort in the Broadway on March 5. “She’s doing well since then, and if speed is holding up, she’ll be awful tough. It looks like a paceless race.”

Big Brownie, listed at 7-5 in what boils down to a two-horse race, is at a tactical disadvantage in terms of the pace dynamics. But the return to the main track – where she won the Staten Island division of the New York Stallion in her first start for trainer and co-owner Leah Gyarmati last fall – works in her favor. The 5-year-old mare has been no worse than second in three starts on the main track, and the Staten Island was the fastest race of her life until the Broadway, in which she showed improved early speed and finished gamely to earn a new Beyer Speed Figure top of 90. The Broadway was just Big Brownie’s second start at six furlongs and first since a third against maidens in the slop at Belmont Park in October 2009. All three of her victories, including the Staten Island, have come at seven furlongs or a mile.

Rounding out the short field are Citifiesta, who won her second-level allowance condition last out; Laylaben, fourth in the Broadway; and Sister’s Speed, a 51-start veteran who exhibited lackluster form in seven outings at the inner-track meet.

◗ Jack On the Rocks, second in all three career starts on the Big A main track including last year’s Fall Highweight, heads a $42,000 starter handicap carded as race 6.

Smokin Hero, runner-up in the Hollie Hughes for the second straight year last out, is the slight second choice over Hillswick and Sun Dance Moon in the six-furlong dash.

Almighty Silver and Six Flings also entered.