06/16/2005 11:00PM

Champs to battle at River


Two popular Ohio-bred champions are set to clash Sunday in an intriguing renewal of the $45,000 Sydney Gendelman Memorial at River Downs.

Devil Time, the 2003 Ohio horse of the year, and Ben's Reflection, champion sprinter in the state the last two seasons, lead a field of 13 entered in the 1 1/16-mile turf event for older statebreds.

For Devil Time, the Gendelman will be a return to action following a hiatus of nearly a year. In his most recent start, on July 3, Devil Time trailed a field of eight in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, won by Peace Rules.

While it remains to be seen whether Devil Time will be ready to fire his best shot following an extended layoff, only rarely has he encountered much resistance while facing his fellow statebreds. His average winning margin in his last five starts in Ohio is more than seven lengths.

Devil Time, who captured the Gendelman in 2002 and 2003, will carry top weight of 124 pounds.

Ben's Reflection, third in the Gendelman last year, is seeking to rebound from a rare out-of-the-money performance in an open turf allowance on May 29. Slow to start and repeatedly checked throughout, Ben's Reflection still managed to finish fourth, three-quarters of a length behind the winning Roxinho.

Though his specialty is sprinting on the main track, Ben's Reflection has handled both the grass and two turns very well in his three previous starts over the course. If he is able to rate more effectively than what he has shown for much of his career, Ben's Reflection stands a strong chance under regular rider Jeff Johnston.

The stakes winners Catch My Cat and Floater, plus Xtra Jack and the mare Always Dreaming, each have the requisite back class or turf ability to complete the Gendelman trifecta.