01/23/2012 2:13PM

Aqueduct: Mineswept should get good pace set-up

Tom Keyser
Mineswept was claimed in November for $35,000.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Tried and true veterans of the New York-bred sprint stakes program have assembled for another meeting in a somewhat less prestigious – though no less contentious – event Wednesday at Aqueduct.

Just three months ago, Mineswept, Driven by Success, Smokin Hero, and Be Bullish ran third, fourth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, in the $125,000 Hudson Stakes at Belmont Park. Wednesday that same quartet along with three of their friends meet in a $54,000 optional claiming/New York-bred allowance that serves as the best race on Aqueduct’s nine-race program.

Six of the seven horses entered for the 5 1/2-furlong dash are being offered for the $50,000 claiming price. Obviously Tuesday, the only 4-year-old in the group, is the only horse eligible for the statebred second-level allowance condition.

Given the claiming frenzy that has gone at this meet, it will be interesting to see how many, if any, of these horses are taken for $50,000. With 11 more claims on Sunday, a total of 192 horses have been claimed for $3,259,500 through 34 days of racing since the inner track opened on Nov. 30.

On Nov. 24, David Jacobson claimed Mineswept for $35,000 and 52 days later he won a $54,000 race – earning $32,400 – where the claiming tag was $25,000. This field is significantly tougher than that group, and Mineswept is running back on just 10 days rest. The pace dynamic, however, would seem to favor his stalking style, as there appears to be plenty of speed in this field.

Driven by Success and Be Bullish, a coupled entry from owner Mike Repole, are in this field. Driven by Success, now 7, is only 1 for 10 over the inner track, including a last-place finish behind Dr Disco when being offered for $75,000 on Jan. 2.

Repole claimed Be Bullish for $75,000 in June, but the horse has earned only half that money back with runner-up performances in a couple of stakes in Saratoga. Be Bullish has not run since the Hudson. He is 3-5-5 from 17 inner-track starts.

Smokin Hero put together three solid efforts over the inner track last winter and is returning from a two-month freshening for trainer Chris Englehart. Smokin Hero is reunited with C.C. Lopez, who rode him to a victory in a $35,000 claimer last January.

Game Token looks a bit interesting at a price. Since being claimed for $7,500 by Dennis Lalman last winter, Game Token has a 3-2-3 record from 12 starts and has earned almost $114,000.

Game Token comes off a seventh-place finish in a starter handicap here just 10 days ago, but that race was at a mile and 70 yards. Now cutting back to 5 1/2 furlongs, he figures to be coming from just off the pace under apprentice Irad Ortiz Jr.

Bambi Bound, who is 3 for 4 at 5 1/2 furlongs and who figures to be a pace presence under David Cohen, completes the field.