08/24/2009 11:00PM

Fiddlers Afleet stretching out in Albany

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After three dull efforts on the synthetic surfaces of Southern California, Fiddlers Afleet relished the return to good old-fashioned dirt at Belmont Park last month, blitzing a group of by 13 3/4 lengths.

Now, his connections hope Fiddlers Afleet will relish added distance when he stretches out to 1 1/8 miles in Wednesday's $150,000 Albany Handicap at Saratoga. The Albany, restricted to 3-year-old New York-breds, is the third leg of the Big Apple Triple. The winners of the first two legs, Mike Lee winner Legal Consent and New York Derby winner Pocket Cowboys, are among the seven horses entered.

Except for his three California races, Fiddlers Afleet has never been out of the money in eight dirt starts. His last was his best, as he showed strong early speed, put away a pace rival and opened up and drew clear, running seven furlongs in 1:22.19.

"He had trained very well, but there was no way to know he would do that," said Mike Hushion, who is Fiddlers Afleet's fourth trainer. "Coming from California, where his form was spotty, I didn't know what we were going to see."

Hushion doesn't anticipate that Fiddlers Afleet will show the same amount of early speed he did in his July 18 romp.

"He relaxes very good in the morning," Hushion said. "I don't think the speed he showed last time is necessary. He was put in the race out of the gate."

Though Fiddlers Afleet has yet to win beyond seven furlongs, he did run a good second to Haynesfield in the Damon Runyon Stakes, a two-turn, mile and 70-yard race in the winter.

"I'm just happy to see that he has a decent two-turn race under his belt," Hushion said.

Slevin finished second in both the Mike Lee at Belmont and the New York Derby at Finger Lakes. Regarding the New York Derby, trainer Carl Domino said Slevin was stuck on the deepest part of the track on a day speed was dominant.

"The track was favoring speed, and he couldn't get out," Domino said. "He's very tenacious and has a very strong kick."

Legal Consent, winner of the Mike Lee and fourth in the New York Derby, will try 1 1/8 miles for the first time. He has to carry 124 pounds, spotting three to nine pounds to the field.

Tall Poppi, Summer Share, and Pretty Boy Freud complete the field.