01/20/2012 3:46PM

Aqueduct: Two vie for division leadership in Haynesfield

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Beautyinthepulpit, Ramon Dominguez up, wins an open-company allowance on New Year's Day.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The retirement of two-time New York-bred Horse of the Year Haynesfield leaves a void in the older state-bred division. It’s a void newly-turned 4-year-olds Beautyinthepulpit and Socialsaul would like to fill beginning with Sunday’s $75,000 Haynesfield Stakes at Aqueduct.

Socialsaul, winner of the New York Derby at 3, is the more accomplished of the two, but Beautyinthepulpit may have the most upside and figures to offer the bigger price in Sunday’s race, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over the inner track.

Beautyinthepulpit, a son of Pulpit, has won 4 of 6 starts, including an entry-level allowance race against open company over the inner track on New Year’s Day. In his prior start, Beautyinthepulpit finished fifth in the Adirondack Holme, a one-turn mile statebred stakes that featured Groomedforvictory, Johannesburg Smile, and Icabad Crane, all absent from this spot.

In explaining Beautyinthepulpit’s disappointing effort in the Adirondack Holme, trainer Bruce Brown said, “he got off a little slow. He’s not a speed horse, but he has to get good position. He got shuffled back early and then had to play catch-up.”

Brown was happy to see the way Beautyinthepulpit bounced back in his allowance win, especially considering it was his first start over the inner track and first around two turns.

“You always wonder if they’re going to handle the inner track and he really took to it,” Brown said. “I think he’s got a lot of room to improve.”

Cornelio Velasquez takes over for Ramon Dominguez, who will ride Socialsaul. Socialsaul was beaten by Redeemed in both the Oklahoma Derby and Discovery Handicap. He finished last in his inner track debut on Dec. 18 behind San Pablo, a repeat winner of an overnight stakes last week.

Socialsaul scratched out of that overnight stakes on Jan. 14 because of a minor illness and is back in here. He has the speed to control the pace from the rail.

Spa City Fever was a front-running winner of the Alex M. Robb at 34-1 on New Year’s Eve. He will likely be chasing Socialsaul on Sunday.

Inherit the Gold was fourth in the Robb, compromised by the slow early pace. Trainer Jim Hooper hopes the fractions will be a bit more honest this time around.

“I throw the race out. My horse was totally compromised by the pace,” Hooper said. “I think there’s a little more speed in there and I’m never going to argue with a short field. I like the fact Junior [Alvarado] is getting a second shot in him.”

Uncle T Seven tries two turns on dirt for the first time since he ran third in the 2009 New York Derby.