06/03/2009 11:00PM

Cryptolight back to dirt


Cryptolight failed to fire his best shot three weeks ago in the Memorial Day Handicap. But that turf race may have set him up perfectly for the $75,000 Slipton Fell Handicap at Mountaineer Racetrack.

The 5-year-old Cryptolight, trained by William Martin, repeats a pattern in the mile and 70-yard Slipton Fell that produced two victories during the 2007 season. Both times he switched from turf to dirt, Cryptolight won allowance races, with each of those victories coming over Mountaineer's main track.

Cryptolight's main-track form was good in his first two starts of the year, which came at Oaklawn Park. He won a high-priced optional claimer with a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 92 and finished third against similar company. Both of those races were at a mile.

Cryptolight's chief challenges in a field of six older horses figure to come from Crimson Comic and Unbridled Wisdom.

Crimson Comic ships in from Maryland for the high-percentage barn of Mark Shuman. He would be a big threat in this spot if he can duplicate either of his back-to-back wins at Laurel Park earlier this year.

But he's coming back 21 days after fading to sixth in the Grade 3 William Schaeffer on the Preakness undercard. Shuman is just 1 for 19 with route runners returning in 21 days or fewer in a non-graded stakes, according to DRF's Formulator. That includes a sixth-place finish by Crimson Comic in March.

Unbridled Wisdom was extremely sharp last summer and fall, when he won four in a row locally and finished second twice, including in the 1o1/8-mile Fall Stakes. He will be stretching out to a route for the second start of his form cycle, although his trainer, Robert Boris, is a weak 1ofor 21 going sprints to routes the last five years.- Joe DeVivo