08/31/2013 10:03AM

Finger Lakes: Fox Rox a maiden but morning-line favorite in Aspirant


A dozen years ago, trainer M. Anthony Ferraro and his client Langpap Stables had a New York-bred 2-year-old filly who began her career at Saratoga and successfully challenged males in the six-furlong Aspirant at Finger Lakes. On Monday, Ferraro and Langpap Stables will try to duplicate what the filly Shesastonecoldfox did in 2001 when they send out her 2-year-old son Fox Rox in the $120,925 Aspirant for New York-bred colts and geldings.

The same connections also have a contender in the co-featured $121,275 Lady Finger for 2-year-old statebred fillies. Both stakes will be contested at six furlongs.

Although Fox Rox remains a maiden after two starts at Saratoga, he is listed as the 3-2 favorite among five betting interests in the Aspirant. His five opponents are four first-time starters and Blue Collar Cat, winless in four starts.

As a 2-year-old in 2001, Shesastonecoldfox won her first four career starts, including her debut at Saratoga and the Aspirant in her second lifetime race. Her best foal to date is the 4-year-old Fox Rules, winner of the 2012 New York Derby.

Fox Rox was favored in each of his first two races at Saratoga. He overcame an awkward break to finish second July 21 and then flashed early speed before fading to fourth in deep stretch over a sloppy track Aug. 9. Ferraro has added blinkers to his equipment for Monday’s race.

Blue Collar Cat comes off his best performance, a runner-up finish going 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 19. He held a one-length lead after six furlongs that day, and his Beyer Speed Figure of 59 nearly matches the 61 that Fox Rox was awarded for his best race.

Among the first-time starters, the most intriguing is Television Too if trainer Michael Lecesse chooses to run him in this spot rather than against maidens in the first race on the Labor Day card.

Eight of the last nine runnings of the Lady Finger have been won by fillies shipping in for out-of-town trainers. That trend could continue with Mark Hennig’s filly Irish Sweepstakes. Based on her 7 1/4-length maiden win at Saratoga on July 19, Irish Sweepstakes has been installed as the even-money favorite on the track’s morning line. Hennig scratched Irish Sweepstakes out of Friday’s $100,000 Law Enforcement at Saratoga, where she would have faced males, in favor of the Lady Finger.

The only other winner in the field is Bossanova Lady, who came from eight lengths back after a half-mile to win her career debut at Finger Lakes by a length.

Ferraro and Langpap are taking a shot with second-time starter Alwaysinstilettos. She adds Lasix after finishing a distant third of seven maidens at Saratoga. Ferraro also will send out the coupled entry of Aspree, beaten 14 or more lengths in both career starts, and Lexi On the Cover, who surrendered a two-length lead in deep stretch of her career debut going five furlongs.