11/17/2009 12:00AM

Easy Gallop may get break


Easy Gallop will hit the road for the first time Tuesday night, leaving his home base of Monmouth Park for the $75,000 Sophomore Sprint Championship at Mountaineer Park.


The six-furlong race for 3-year-olds drew a field of 11, with the intimidating Russell Road landing the outside post. Russell Road, however, may not run, and if that happens the role of favorite would likely fall to Easy Gallop.

Trained by John Forbes, Easy Gallop has turned in three straight solid efforts since cutting back to sprints. After posting consecutive allowance victories, Easy Gallop stepped up to his first stakes on Oct. 23, missing by a half-length in the Eillo at the Meadowlands.

Russell Road is in the final stages of a spectacular season. He is 6 for 8 this year, including an eight-length romp in the slop last time out in the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic. He is on a four-race winning streak, all stakes, at his Charles Town home base.

A West Virginia-bred gelding, Russell Road can seemingly do it all, winning this year at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles while beating both statebred and open company.

He is not, however, a lock to go in this spot. Trainer Jim Casey also has his eye on the $50,000 A Huevo Stakes for West Virginia-breds at 1 1/8 miles next Saturday at Charles Town, and Casey said he is leaning toward that race.

"If we can, we want to run here," Casey said of the A Huevo, "We'll have to wait and see. We don't want to get shut out all together."

Nay's Tap will be stretching out beyond 4 1/2 furlongs for the first time in the Sophomore Sprint Championship. The gelding is 4 for 5, most recently winning the Dash for Cash on the West Virginia Breeders' Classic undercard.

This would be his first race away from Charles Town.

This is also an interesting spot for Juke Joint, making his first start of the season on dirt. After five straight races on the synthetic track at Presque Isle Downs, Juke Joint shifted to the turf last time to run third in a five-furlong dash at Philadelphia Park.

The Big Finisher, in fact, has turned out to be a speed horse. He set the pace under pressure most recently, drawing clear in the final stages to earn his maiden victory over the synthetic strip at Keeneland.