04/15/2013 1:57PM

Aqueduct: Pinball in tough for Wednesday allowance

Barbara D. Livingston
Pinball won a New York-bred allowance by 7 1/4 lengths in February, but was scratched from a race last month with a quarter crack.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Pinball was a 2-5 morning-line favorite for a second-level allowance restricted to New York-breds on March 15, but had to scratch from that race due to a quarter crack.

On Wednesday, he returns in a similar spot, and while he figures to be favored again, the competition for this one-mile race at Aqueduct looks a little deeper than the group he would have faced a month ago.

Among his opponents is Smooth Bert , who has recorded both of his victories in one-turn mile races, including the Damon Runyon Stakes last Dec. 9 over the main track. Smooth Bert was tried in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes, but finished sixth, beaten six lengths by Revolutionary who came back to win the Louisiana Derby.

Smooth Bert may have been bothered by an undescended testicle that has since been removed. This will be his first start as a ridgling.

Trainer Leah Gyarmati said that Dr. Patty Hogan, who performed the procedure on Smooth Bert, told her the testicle “was twisted 180 degrees, so I’m going to say it was worth taking out.”

Gyarmati said that Smooth Bert, the only 3-year-old in this field, has trained well since the procedure, including a bullet five-furlong workout in 1:01.06 on March 21 over the Belmont training track.

Smooth Bert, who will break from post 4 under Mike Luzzi, should sit a good stalking trip. Pinball, Most Happy Fella, and Cousin Michael, all drawn inside of Smooth Bert, have displayed early speed in their races.

Pinball, a son of Unbridled’s Song, has won his last two starts impressively, including a restricted first-level allowance race by 7 1/4 lengths on Feb. 17.

He has breezed three times since having the quarter crack patched and repaired, including a half-mile in 48.61 seconds Sunday, and figures to be forwardly placed breaking from the rail under Junior Alvarado.

“He has enough speed to be handy enough to go a one-turn mile,” said Leana Willaford, the New York-based assistant to trainer Bill Mott. “We always thought he’d be a nice colt.”

Trainer Charlton Baker probably wasn’t happy to see Pinball in the entries. The Baker-trained Cousin Michael finished behind Pinball twice during the winter, but has since won his last two in races without Pinball. Cousin Michael upset the heavily favored Master Cip in a two-turn mile race over the inner track March 2.

Most Happy Fella, in for the optional claiming price of $25,000, has been claimed in five of his last seven starts and this time goes out for David Jacobson. His most recent victory came the last time he raced around one turn last October at Belmont. Javier Castellano is named to ride.

Papa Tom, coming off a first-level allowance win March 16, and Indy Tune, claimed for $14,000 by John Parisella last out, complete the field.