04/24/2007 11:00PM

Ben Ali Stakes preview


Thursday, April 26, 2007
Keeneland - Race 8
Ben Ali Stakes (Grade 3)
1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack)
4-year-olds and upward
Purse $150,000

CHATAIN never changed leads in the stretch of the Donn Handicap, but he still earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure while chasing the uncrowned "Horse of the World" in Invasor. The Keeneland clocker noted that Chatain's five-furlong workout (58 flat) over Polytrack on April 12 was a "very strong effort, and he galloped out in 1:11" while "he was just galloping" when completing his final preparation on April 19 (five furlongs in 59.80). Chatain has good tactical speed, and should be ready to pounce when the field turns for home in the Ben Ali.
RATHOR also earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure in his most recent start, and that race was at this meet. Trained by Bobby Frankel, the grandson of Mr. Prospector has always hinted at tremendous ability, and the Keeneland clocker gave the notation "continues to hold form" after the April 21 work in 59.80. Rathor may have been aided by a closer-friendly track here 20 days ago, however, and must overcome the far outside post on Thursday. BETTER THAN BONDS was only beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Rathor on April 6, and he was racing against the grain of a closer-friendly track that day. He sheds six lbs. from his last start, and should be among the pacesetters once again. At 20-1 on the morning line, he represents value. MUSTANFAR has done much of his damage on the grass, but turf form often translates to the synthetic surfaces, and Mustanfar did run second in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on dirt a couple of years ago. He's been recently working in company with Belmont Stakes winner Jazil. STREAM CAT showed no rust in winning his prep race here two weeks ago in his first start since last July, and he has never lost over Polytrack. A Grade 3 winner over the synthetic at two, he may now be reaching peak maturity for red-hot Pat Biancone.
SAINT STEPHEN "went very well" according to the Keeneland clocker for his April 19 workout (1:01.60, galloped out in 1:14), and "wasn't extended in his effort" for his April 12 drill (47 flat, galloped out in 59 flat). He won the Grade 3 Native Diver over Hollywood's synthetic Cushion Track last year, and is reunited with top rider Garrett Gomez.

1. Chatain
2. Rathor
3. Better Than Bonds