12/13/2011 3:44PM

Aqueduct: Speightscity taking class drop

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Tom Keyser
Speightscity was eighth in the Grade 2 Remsen.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Although he was off the board in his last two starts, Speightscity figures to be favored against five other 2-year-olds in Thursday’s $53,000 allowance/optional claiming feature at a mile and 70 yards.

In New York’s first juvenile dirt route race of the season at Saratoga, Speightscity switched from turf to dirt while making his second career start and galloped to an impressive maiden triumph, widening through the stretch to win by better than 11 lengths despite racing a bit greenly.

Speightscity made his next start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and raced within two lengths of the lead for six furlongs before fading to ninth behind front-running winner Hansen.

Three weeks later, Speightscity was co-third choice in the Remsen, was caught wide on both turns, and finished eighth.

After a half-mile breeze last week, Speightscity drops in class for Gary Contessa, who entered the week tied for third in the trainer standings with four wins on the inner track.

Speightscity gets a rider switch to David Cohen, and breaks from post 2.

The two others who have already won around two turns are Festive Spirit and Holiday Promise, both trained by Todd Pletcher. They were purchased earlier this year for $300,000 and $160,000, respectively.

Like Speightscity, Festive Spirit debuted with a fourth-place finish on the grass, before switching to the main track for a pace-pressing maiden victory at the fall meet. He breaks from post 5 with Cornelio Velasquez.

Holiday Promise was fourth sprinting on a muddy track at Belmont first time out, and then shipped to Laurel Park to graduate as a prohibitive 2-5 favorite three weeks ago. The lone entrant in for the $75,000 claim price, he breaks from the rail with Junior Alvarado, who entered the week with a one-win lead over Velasquez atop the standings.

Artest was a five-furlong debut winner in early June, and returned on the main track last month with a runner-up finish in a six-furlong allowance. A Hard Spun colt, he stretches out for Richard Dutrow Jr., and will be ridden once again by Ramon Dominguez.

Dangerous Lad ships in with a trainer change to John Terranova after a debut win at seven furlongs over the Polytrack at Woodbine. He breaks from the outside with Alan Garcia.

Big Budget was claimed for $35,000 by Patricia Farro from an off-the-turf maiden win opening week. Apprentice Ryan Curatolo rides from post 3.