02/04/2002 1:00AM

Distance suits Yankee Doodle Boy


JAMAICA, N.Y. - In the afterglow of a stirring red, white, and blue Super Bowl won by those upstarts from New England, patriotic punters can get down on Yankee Doodle Boy in Wednesday's eighth-race allowance feature at the Big A.

A son of 1990 NYRA Mile winner Quiet American, Yankee Doodle Boy breaks from post 3 with Jean-Luc Samyn, and heads a field of five entered in a $48,000 third-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles.

The lone 4-year-old in a short field, Yankee Doodle Boy has been first or second in four of his last five starts, including first- and second-level allowance wins at Wednesday's distance. That is no small matter in light of the fact that his rivals are a combined 0 for 24 at nine furlongs.

As the youngest and most lightly raced of these, Yankee Doodle Boy appears to be an up-and-comer who may advance through this condition at first asking.

Opposing him are: Un Fino Vino, Skip a Grade, Flying Baron, and Le Beaucet, who are all capable on their best days but who all were beaten by 10 lengths or more their last time out.

One with a possible excuse is Flying Baron, a homebred from Frank Stronach who was coming off a two-month layoff in a six-furlong race Jan. 13 and broke awkwardly.

Flying Baron has yet to go this far, but he won 2 of 4 four starts at 1 1/16 miles to close out a productive 2001 campaign at Woodbine. He stretches out again in his second start for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who shows a profit with stretchouts the past 13 months.

Flying Baron, who is potentially the controlling speed, breaks from post 4, gets a switch to leading apprentice Lorenzo Lezcano, and carries 11 pounds fewer than Yankee Doodle Boy.

Un Fino Vino was the runner-up in the Laurel Futurity and the Remsen in the fall of 1999, but he has since fallen on hard times. He has not won in 18 starts since taking his 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream on Jan. 29, 2000.

Skip a Grade, an off-the-pace winner on a wet inner track two starts ago, finished a distant second to My Request in his first try at this level. He gets a trainer change to Christopher Gardiner, who is deputizing for Ben Perkins Jr.

On Tuesday, Perkins began serving a 30-day suspension stemming from a post-race positive for the anti-hypertension agent Guanabenz.

Le Beaucet, a three-time winner from 13 starts on the inner track but 0 for life elsewhere, gets a trainer change to the streaking Scott Lake.

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