10/05/2009 11:00PM

Barbara keen on Stevil's spot


ELMONT, N.Y. - Perhaps still giddy over Interpatation's upset victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, trainer Bob Barbara had this proclamation when asked to assess Stevil's chances in Wednesday's featured first-level allowance race at Belmont Park:

"Stevil's going to win," Barbara said Monday morning outside his barn.

Just don't count on the same 43-1 odds you got on Interpatation.

Barbara's confidence is born out of how well Stevil appears to be doing in addition to the modest competition he will face in the $46,000 allowance race scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Barbara claimed Stevil for $35,000 on behalf of owner Joseph Bucci on Aug. 1, a day Stevil won a turf race by one length at Saratoga. Six weeks later, Barbara returned Stevil to the dirt in a starter allowance, and he drew clear to a convincing 5 1/4-length score in the slop at 1 1/16 miles.

"His last race was a serious race," Barbara said. "I don't know what he beat, it's just the way he did it - he never drew away from horses before. Since his race, he's been super-duper, real good, and I don't think there's much in there."

There is a chance of rain Tuesday night into Wednesday. Barbara is unconcerned about track condition.

"It could rain, it could stay dry. I don't care what it does, the horse is good right now," Barbara said.

Stevil, who will be ridden by Jose Lezcano from post 2, could find himself on or close to the lead in a race that seems void of speed. Hoopoe, a 3-year-old son of Birdstone trained by Nick Zito - coincidentally the previous trainer of Stevil - could be a pace factor. Zito is adding blinkers to the colt's equipment after he finished fourth in this condition going two turns at Saratoga. Hoopoe twice finished second in maiden races at Belmont going a mile or further.

Success Fee is stretching out to 1 1/16 miles off a late-running victory sprinting against New York-bred second-level allowance competition, when he took advantage of a swift early pace. He has a win and a second in middle-distance races at Belmont. Ramon Dominguez rides for Mark Hennig.

Luv Gov would appreciate moisture in the track. Luv Gov, who competed in two of the three Triple Crown races, once finished second to now three-time Grade 1 winner Summer Bird in a maiden race at Oaklawn.

Almighty Silver, Otro Visur, Repenthouse, and Beresford complete the field.