10/28/2010 2:30PM

Clash of surface specialists in Fayette

Stately Victor/Blue Grass
Stately Victor, Alan Garcia up, wins the Blue Grass over the Keeneland Polytrack.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – As Keeneland concludes its fifth fall meet with Polytrack as the main racing surface, the general consensus is that horses with established synthetic form tend to have an edge, although grass horses also fare well on Poly. These handicapping tenets will be mixed and matched to their limits Saturday when the $150,000 Fayette Stakes helps to close the 17-day fall meet.

Stately Victor and Exhi, both heretofore standouts on Poly, are among the 10 3-year-olds and upward in the 52nd running of the Grade 2 Fayette, a 1 1/8-mile fixture that also drew several other horses who have known synthetic success, including Dubious Miss, winner of the Grade 3 Ben Ali here last spring. Moreover, the field includes Battle of Hastings, whose $1.2 million bankroll was earned primarily on turf, and Boots Ahead and Cherokee Artist, both of whom have run the occasional huge race on grass.

Stately Victor, trained by Mike Maker, ran sensationally over the Poly in capturing the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at 40-1 here in the spring. After three failed efforts on other surfaces versus elite 3-year-old company, the colt returned to Polytrack at Woodbine, blowing away the opposition in the Sept. 25 Ontario Derby.

“We’re hoping his form holds for one more race, maybe more than that,” said Maker.

Exhi has never lost on synthetics. A Maria’s Mon colt, he ran up a four-race win streak, all of them stakes, before being tested against rugged 3-year-old company late in the summer. “He’s okay on dirt, but all you have to do is look at his form to see how effective he is on the Poly,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Dubious Miss, the curiously named 6-year-old gelding, will be making his first start since recovering from minor ankle surgery. He will be ridden by Calvin Borel, who has won aboard him in a remarkable 7 of 9 tries.

Yet one more contender with established Poly form is Successful Dan, who was sharp in an allowance score here three weeks ago for the red-hot Charlie Lopresti.

The Fayette is the ninth of 10 races on a closing-day card that also includes three allowances (races 6, 8, 10).

Polytrack was first used for racing here at the 2006 fall meet.