06/28/2012 3:27PM

Belmont Park: Teeth of the Dog looks tough in Dwyer

Tom Keyser
Teeth of the Dog, with Joel Rosario riding, wins the Easy Goer and earns a Beyer Speed Figure of 93.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With a list of past winners that includes Man o’ War, Whirlaway, Assault, Damascus, and Holy Bull, it’s safe to say Saturday’s 95th running of the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park didn’t attract a comparatively strong group of 3-year-olds.

Not even close. Collectively, the field of seven has been beaten 76 lengths in six graded stakes attempts, not counting Guyana Star Dweej, who was eased in the Belmont Stakes.

The Dwyer, a Grade 2 worth $200,000 there for the taking, is the 10th of 11 races. Post time is 5:38 p.m. Eastern.

No one has come nearer than a dozen points to the Dwyer’s historical Beyer Speed Figure par of 105, and thus Teeth of the Dog is the one to beat by virtue of a clear-cut triumph in the Easy Goer Stakes, for which he received a 93, his second such figure, and faster than anyone else.

Teeth of the Dog was a respectable third in the Wood Memorial nine weeks following a maiden win, and was scratched from the Peter Pan to take a crack at the Preakness, where he finished a distant fifth.

Benefiting from a drop to easier company in the Easy Goer, he settled nicely in the early stages for Joel Rosario, and came through a large opening in the upper stretch to win going away.

“He came out of the Easy Goer very well,” said trainer Michael Matz, who saddled Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags a few hours later. “It’s only been three weeks since the race, but he’s been doing well, and he worked very well Monday. If he runs well in this, we’d probably look at a race like the Jim Dandy, but we’d keep our options open.”

Logical threats include Unstoppable U, who prompted the pace to the stretch in the Belmont Stakes before fading to sixth, and Zetterholm, who rallied to finish fourth in the Preakness.

The Belmont was just the third start for Unstoppable U, who won his debut in the slop at Aqueduct, and a first-level allowance here opening day for trainer Ken McPeek.

“Hopefully, he runs like we know he can,” said assistant trainer Lars Becdelamotte. “We think he’s a horse that is capable of running in a race like the Travers. He doesn’t have to win, but he’s got to be right there at the wire.”

Other than Teeth of the Dog, Zetterholm is the group’s only stakes winner of any kind, having won an overnight affair against New York-breds for meet-leading trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

Morgan’s Guerrilla, a Mike Maker-trained colt who led late in the Illinois Derby before settling for second, looks for his second career win.

So does Fast Falcon, who was second in the Easy Goer.

“We’ll see how he handles these and see how he fits,” said trainer Nick Zito.

Monarchic, a Pennsylvania-bred who is winless on dirt, and cross-entered in an overnight turf stakes Friday, completes the field.