07/13/2006 12:00AM

Bowling Green Handicap preview


Gigli hasn't reached the winner's circle since 2002 in Brazil, but he finds a soft spot in the Bowling Green, and his tactical speed should serve him well in this relatively paceless heat. Trained by Bobby Frankel, Gigli was good enough to run second in the Grade 1 Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream last year. He broke a bit slowly that day before racing in and among horses for the majority of the trip. Gigli was then blindswitched on the far turn, and had to angle widest to produce his best run. Despite the trouble, he was beaten a nose. Gigli missed over a year of racing after finishing third in an optional claimer at Belmont on May 27, 2005, and it was interesting to see Frankel drop him in for a $50,000 price tag for his return to the races last month. Gigli was bottled up on the rail in midstretch before angling to the four path with 200 yards to run. He changed back to his wrong lead late, but was eating up ground, and should really appreciate the extra distance presented to him on Saturday.

Rochester has only finished first in one of his last 26 races, but the long-winded 10-year-old is usually good for a top three finish, and he was stymied by a slow pace in the Grade 3 Elkhorn last time out. He is capable of a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure on his best day, but will likely need to be closer to the pace in order to achieve success in the Bowling Green.

Crown Point faced some big names on both turf and dirt last year, and projects for a good ground-saving trip from the inside post. He has a tendency to wash out in the paddock and post parade so give him a good going-over before making your wagers. Crown Point won the Pilgrim over this course at two, and has been training well for his first start of the year.

Go Deputy goes out for the potent Pletcher barn, but is another closer that may need faster fractions. Request for Parole earned a solid Beyer two back, and may have been a bit short last time out. He has enough speed to be close to the pace.

1. Gigli
2. Rochester
3. Crown Point