05/11/2013 2:52PM

Finger Lakes: Princess Phoebe, Sweet Hot Toddy face off in feature


Princess Phoebe and Sweet Hot Toddy, both coming off dominant victories in their first starts of the season that produced identical Beyer Speed Figures, and both from barns that have been hot in the early weeks of the 2013 Finger Lakes meet, clash in Monday’s $25,000 feature at the western New York track.

The five-furlong eighth race is a third-level allowance for New York-bred fillies and mares. The two logical favorites in a field of seven are extremely difficult to separate.

The 4-year-old Princess Phoebe extended a winning streak that began in her second start locally last September when she cruised to her fourth straight victory in a restricted second-level allowance on April 29. The 3 1/2-length score produced a career-best 70 Beyer.

That’s the same Beyer the 5-year-old Sweet Hot Toddy was awarded for her 7 1/2-length victory going five furlongs April 23. Although Sweet Hot Toddy ran for an $8,500 claiming price that day, she was facing open company. The last time she met statebreds, Sweet Hot Toddy won an optional $8,000 claimer by 1 1/4 lengths.

The trainers for both contenders are going strong since the meet began on April 20. Sweet Hot Toddy’s trainer, Charlton Baker, won with 6 of his first 21 starters (28 percent) to rank third in the standings.

Jeremiah Englehart, the trainer of Princess Phoebe, has been even hotter. He stands atop the standings with a record of 13 for 28 (46 percent) through Friday.

Baker and Englehart are equally strong in categories pertinent to Monday’s race. Baker is 12 for 39 (31 percent) with last-out winners moving from claimers to an allowance. Englehart has gone 10 for 33 (30 percent) with last-out winners making their second start off a layoff in a sprint.

Wink and Fly, who flashed speed and tired in her season’s debut, and My Wildest Dreams, who improved dramatically in her second local start, are plausible candidates to pull an upset.

The 5-year-old Wink and Fly comes from the ice-cold barn of Daniel Conway Jr., who began 2013 by going 0 for 32. But Conway shows an 8-for-42 record (19 percent) with female sprinters making their second start off a layoff, including a win by Wink and Fly.

The 7-year-old My Wildest Dreams, trained by Jeremiah’s younger brother Jeff, moved forward 18 points on the Beyer scale last time out when she missed by a neck against the same caliber of allowance runners she faces Monday.