06/07/2007 12:00AM

Deadly Dealer has top figure for Stephens


ELMONT, N.Y. - Three-year-old sprinters have been slow to sort themselves out this season, and they have been slow in general, which makes the $250,000 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup a headache to handicap.

A field of 10 entered the Woody Stephens, a Grade 2 at seven furlongs that goes as race 8 and kicks off a $1 million guaranteed pick four with the Acorn, Manhattan, and Belmont Stakes.

Deadly Dealer, freshened since setting the pace against Curlin in the Arkansas Derby, is the lone entrant to have matched the Beyer par (104) for the Woody Stephens, which was named the Riva Ridge through 2005, when Lost in the Fog won it with a 107. It has taken a figure anywhere from 101-114 to win the last 10 renewals.

Deadly Dealer ran this field's top number, a 104, in his first start this year and first for Todd Pletcher, when he wired a 7 1/2-furlong allowance at Gulfstream in his only fast-track sprint.

"I think his first allowance was quite good," said Pletcher. "I wouldn't be surprised if he's on the lead. He's pretty quick away from there."

Deadly Dealer may be committed to the lead, because Stormello and Teuflesberg, both making their first start since the Kentucky Derby, break just to his outside. With wins in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity and the Grade 2 Norfolk, Stormello is the most accomplished of the group, but this is his first sprint since the Del Mar Futurity.

Teuflesberg owns the only other triple-digit Beyer in the race, a 100 for winning the Southwest, a two-turn mile at Oaklawn Park.

If Deadly Dealer is to be caught, the likeliest to do so are Sports Town and Street Magician, who stretch out a bit after impressive victories.

Sports Town returned from a freshening to win the 6 1/2-furlong Ogygian 24 days ago, with an explosive finish.

"I was expecting to see that - we've had high expectations for him all along," said trainer John Terranova. "He's just push-button; he'll sit off horses."

Street Magician won the Aventura at Saturday's distance after battling for the lead all the way, but showed a new dimension rallying late to win the six-furlong Hirsch Jacobs.

"He got outrun by a fast horse early," said trainer Michael Trombetta. "But he relaxed. That's what I liked most about it."