05/28/2010 11:00PM

Big Top finds good spot


Big Top was good enough at the tail end of his 3-year-old season last fall to finish second, beaten a mere half-length, in the Grade 3 Pegasus at the Meadowlands. Yet after 10 starts, he's still eligible for a nonwinners-of-two allowance condition.

Purchased for $1.05 million as a yearling at the Keeneland November sale, Big Top makes his first start since coming to trainer Graham Motion's barn in Tuesday's featured ninth race at Delaware Park, a first-level allowance worth $40,000 at a mile and 70 yards.

After his good effort in the Pegasus, Big Top was laid off until mid-March, when he finished second of five going a one-turn mile in a first-level allowance at Gulfstream Park. Off that effort, then-trainer Nick Zito ambitiously spotted Big Top in the Grade 3 Ben Ali on Keeneland's Polytrack, and he backed up to finish sixth.

Big Top's last three Beyer Speed Figures (84-88-87) are close to the par of 85 for a first-level allowance at Delaware, which indicates Motion has found a good spot for the son of Giant's Causeway to gain his elusive second victory.

The main threats are drawn inside in the field of eight. The 3-year-old Holyfield, a five-length winner against maidens almost a month ago, will break from the rail under Jeremy Rose while stretching out around two turns for the first time. His trainer, Tony Dutrow, is just 2 for 11 with last-out maiden winners making their first route attempt, according to DRF's Formulator.

United States, a 4-year-old from the potent stable of Todd Pletcher, makes his first start following three good efforts earlier this season at Gulfstream. He won his maiden by nine lengths going a one-turn mile in mid-March. But the group he defeated wasn't a strong bunch. Only one of the seven returned to win next time out, and that victory came in a slowly run maiden claimer.

Philly: Fancy Footsteps in sharp form

Fancy Footsteps, who rallied from seventh in deep stretch to defeat $28,000 claimers less than two weeks ago, looks to make it two in a row in Tuesday's featured ninth race at Philadelphia Park, a second-level allowance for fillies and mares going five furlongs on turf.

On May 20, the 5-year-old Fancy Footsteps made up 3 1/2 lengths and passed six horses in the final furlong to draw off by 2 1/2 lengths on Penn National's turf course.

Her chief challenger in a field of seven looks like Enjoyable, an 8-year-old trained by Scott Lake. Enjoyable, a nine-time winner on turf, has been off since October, but won the last two times she has come back from a layoff.