08/15/2013 5:33PM

Finger Lakes: Pretension, B Shanny meet in Leon Reed Memorial


A horse who began his career sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town and earned himself a berth in the 2012 Preakness has the most intriguing story line among nine older New York-breds in the lineup for Saturday’s $50,000 Leon Reed Memorial Handicap at Finger Lakes.

Pretension, whose win in the 1 1/16-mile Canonero II at Pimlico was sandwiched by non-competitive performances in the Illinois Derby and Preakness, will run six furlongs Saturday for just the third time in a career spanning 17 races over three seasons.

A 4-year-old gelding, Pretension was claimed for $25,000 two starts ago at Pimlico by Donald Barr. In his first start for Barr, Pretension was last of five in a second-level optional $40,000 claimer at Delaware Park two months ago. The 80 Beyer Speed Figure he earned that day would make him competitive against the New York-breds he faces in the Reed.

On Saturday, Pretension’s trainer of record will be James M. Casey, a veterinarian and part-time trainer who seems to excel as a pinch-hitter. Casey, a son of famed West Virginia breeder and trainer James W. Casey, has just two wins to his credit as a trainer the past five years, both in stakes while subbing for other trainers. He was the trainer of record for Rhythmic Moves when he got up by a nose in the 2008 Dash for Cash at Charles Town and for the millionaire Russell Road when he shipped to Laurel Park to win the Dancing Count in 2009.

The logical horse to beat is B Shanny, a 4-year-old who ships in from Saratoga for trainer Mike Hushion. Four of B Shanny’s past five Beyers have been between 90 and 99. He cuts back slightly in distance while making the third start of his current form cycle.

Trainer Charlton Baker won three consecutive runnings of this race, which was formerly known as the Wine Country Handicap, from 2004 to 2006. He will saddle Al’s Deputy, a 7-year-old who was third at even money in last year’s Reed. He returns to the statebred ranks after a sharp second a month ago going 5 1/2 furlongs.

The horse who beat Al’s Deputy on July 12, Sundae On Sunday, also is part of the Reed field. He won last year’s six-furlong Ontario County and was a close second in the six-furlong George Barker in May.

William Thomas has won four of his last five races and is an 11-time winner locally, but 5 1/2-furlong races are his speciality. He will try six furlongs for the first time since finishing second in July 2012 while running for a $4,500 claiming tag.