08/23/2012 3:09PM

Finger Lakes: New York Oaks field hard to decipher


Handicappers may have a difficult time separating eight New York-bred 3-year-old fillies, none of whom has won more than twice, in Saturday’s $75,000 New York Oaks at Finger Lakes. The Oaks is run at 1 1/16 miles.

Capella Dancer, second in the six-furlong Niagara in her only previous try against New York-breds, may merit a slight edge. She returns to her home track after an unsuccessful experiment going two turns on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs in mid-July. Her trainer, Michael Ferraro, won the 2008 running of the Oaks with Afleet Alexandra and the 1994 running with Touch the Money. Ferraro shows a 2-for-7 record (29 percent) with horses shifting from synthetic to dirt surfaces while returning in a route after a break of 31 to 60 days.

Mischief Maker owns the best Beyer Speed Figure this season, a 76 for her maiden win going a one-turn mile at Belmont Park. She stretches out off a fifth-place finish going seven furlongs in the slop at Saratoga. Over the last two years, trainer Bruce Brown is 2 for 21 with horses back in 21 days or less stretching out from sprints to routes.

Mom’s Law has won both of her route starts at Finger Lakes by a combined margin of 17 lengths. She steps up in class following a wire-to-wire win against open company in a nonwinners-of-two allowance. Trainer Michael Lecesse is 1 for 6 with fillies and mares returning off a route win in 14 days or less.

Nikki’s Nut has been going long on Tapeta and turf in her last four races. She is difficult to gauge because she has never raced in a route on dirt and has yet to compete against New York-breds. On the plus side, trainer Jeremiah Englehart is 6 for 24 with horses switching from synthetic to dirt surfaces.

It’s also hard to get a read on Color Blind, who breaks from the outside. Her three races this season have been either on turf or a sloppy main track, including a wide-trip fourth in her most recent outing in an off-the-turf event at 1 1/8 miles. On fast dirt last year, Color Blind won a slow maiden route at Belmont and was 10th of 11 in a restricted stakes going seven furlongs.