11/15/2011 4:21PM

Aqueduct: Rail Trip, Ron the Greek may be long overdue

Barbara D. Livingston
Rail Trip has won more than $1.1 million, most of it racing on synthetic surfaces.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Don’t sleep in, or you’ll miss the Sunny and Mild overnight stakes, which starts Thursday’s Big A program at 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

The $60,000 opener, once around the main track at 1 1/8 miles, drew a field of six and presents a somewhat unusual situation: 6-5 morning-line favorite Rail Trip hasn’t won in 17 months, and 5-2 second choice Ron the Greek hasn’t won in almost 22 months.

Rail Trip, has earned over $1.1 million, nearly all of it on synthetic tracks, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup in 2009. Sent to New York and given over to Richard Dutrow Jr. after a narrow loss at 2-5 in defense of that title a year later, Rail Trip had an issue with the frog on his right front hoof that delayed his local debut until a fifth-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Rail Trip was sidelined again until June, but returned with a huge effort in an overnight stakes at Belmont Park, only to be run down in the final strides by Friend Or Foe. Dutrow was sufficiently encouraged by that effort to run the 6-year-old gelding in the Whitney Handicap, in which he finished off the board.

Back to an overnight stakes at Belmont most recently, Rail Trip settled for second after putting away two early challengers.

Ron the Greek looked like an up-and-coming colt after winning the 2010 Lecomte Stakes in his 3-year-old debut for former trainer Tom Amoss. Nearing the end of his 4-year-old season, however, the deep closer is winless from nine subsequent starts for Amoss, Tom Albertrani, Peter Walder, and Bill Mott.

The Sunny and Mild will be Ron the Greek’s second start for Mott, and his first in nearly four months since a runner-up finish in an optional claimer at Sarartoga.

Jimanator could be the “now horse” as he ships in for Fair Hill-based trainer Mike Trombetta, following a big win over second-level allowance routers at Parx Racing second time off a $20,000 claim.

Bigger Is Bettor, the lone 3-year-old, has run 1 1/8 miles around two turns once before, and the result was a 26-1 upset in the Albany Handicap. “I was a little surprised, but he has always shown some talent in the morning,” said trainer Rodrigo Ubillo.

More Than a Reason and Most Happy Fella complete the field.