08/19/2010 4:46PM

Claimers look strong in Leon Reed Memorial Handicap


Dr. W and Be Bullish, both claimed by high-percentage trainers for $50,000 or more at Saratoga late last month, could hold the keys to the $50,000 Leon Reed Memorial Handicap at Finger Lakes.

Dr. W, who has won each of the last three times he has faced New York-breds, and Be Bullish, who was narrowly beaten by Dr. W twice earlier this year, both look like serious contenders in the Reed, a six-furlong sprint restricted to statebreds.

In the last five years, trainer Todd Pletcher has claimed just two horses, according to DRF's Formulator. The first, Faith's Magic, came out of a $62,500 race to miss by a neck in his first start for Pletcher in a first-level allowance at Gulfstream Park in 2007. Pletcher spent $75,000 to take Dr. W out of a race in which he finished fourth, though earning a respectable 86 Beyer Speed Figure, on July 26.

In the spring at Aqueduct, Dr. W reeled off three straight victories against statebreds, including a nose decision over Be Bullish and a three-quarter-length score over that same horse.

The 5-year-old Be Bullish was claimed for $50,000 by Chris Englehart out of race in which he missed by a neck on July 25. Englehart, the leading trainer at Finger Lakes, is 5 for 11 first off the claim with runners returning in less than 30 days at his home track.

Others who merit respect include Too Tough Pete, who was second in this race last year; Turnpike Token, upset winner of the Ontario County against 3-year-olds on July 31; and Pro's Pal, an 11-time winner locally who is part of a coupled entry for trainer Charlton Baker.