06/16/2011 3:09PM

Belmont: Street Game's speed may give him edge stepping up for Hill Prince

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Trainer Shug McGaughey is concerned the one mile of Saturday's Hill Prince may be too short for Grade 3 Pilgrim winner Air Support.

ELMONT, N.Y. – After two good-looking wins against New York-breds, Street Game will take on open company in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.

“It’s a step we’re taking just to see where we are with him as far as what the rest of the summer brings,’’ said trainer Phil Serpe. “Do we just look at statebred races or are we looking at something bigger? Hopefully, we’re looking at something bigger.’’

Street Game looks to be one of several contenders in a seemingly wide-open running of the Hill Prince, which is scheduled for one mile over Belmont’s Widener turf course. But since his two wins have come against restricted company, he may offer the most value in the race.

Street Game actually ran well in two open company maiden races at Gulfstream Park. In the second of those two, Street Game appeared hesitant to rally along the rail in the stretch, losing by a length in a race that produced four next-out winners. Serpe added blinkers after that and the horse won his next two starts.

“His two starts in blinkers he’s improved like you’d hope one would,’’ Serpe said. “He’s got a quick turn of foot. When you press on the accelerator, there’s gas in the tank.’

In a race without much speed, Street Game may hold a tactical advantage over several of his rivals, including Air Support, Longhunter, and Fastest Magician.

Air Support is a two-time graded stakes winner, including a victory in the Grade 3 Pilgrim over yielding Belmont turf last fall. Trainer Shug McGaughey is a little concerned that the mile could be too short for Air Support, who carries top weight of 123 pounds.

Fastest Magician came from last to win the A Gift Stakes going seven furlongs in his turf debut here on May 22, overcoming a slow pace and a little bit of traffic at the quarter pole. He rallied inside and outfinished Longhunter, who was the 4-5 favorite that day and could go favored again on Saturday.

“Everything went wrong for him and he crawled his way through it,’’ said Barclay Tagg, trainer of Fastest Magician. “He broke a little slow and he tried to crawl over horses.’’

Longhunter won an overnight stakes going a mile at Gulfstream in April and fell a length short of Fastest Magician in the A Gift going seven furlongs. Trainer Christophe Clement hopes the extra furlong helps his horse, though he is concerned about the apparent lack of speed in this field.

Chinglish, Humble and Hungry, and Master Dunker finished one-two-three in the James Murphy Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day, with Chinglish overcoming the pedestrian pace and yielding turf. Humble and Hungry, who was up on the pace in the James Murphy, could be the controlling speed in this field under Eddie Castro.

Casino Host, who is cross-entered in a first-level allowance race Saturday at Monmouth, and East of Danzig, who hasn’t been out since finishing fourth in the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream, complete the field.