09/03/2011 10:44AM

Finger Lakes stakes favorites look home and dry


Even a novice handicapper should be able to quickly identify the solid favorites in the two Labor Day stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds at Finger Lakes, the Aspirant for colts and geldings and the Lady Finger for fillies. Bay Park Boy and Wildcat’s Smile not only hold a substantial advantage in Beyer Speed Figures following daylight maiden victories at Saratoga, but they each face only one other opponent who has won a race.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Bay Park Boy, who earned an 88 Beyer for a 4 3/4-length score in his career debut nearly a month ago, looks like a mortal lock in a field of 10 in the $126,387 Aspirant (race 8). Wildcat’s Smile, coming off a 7 3/4-length score worth a 65 Beyer, towers over her five rivals in the $135,325 Lady Finger (race 7).

No Flaws, the only opponent Bay Park Boy faces who owns a victory, has been off since being awarded a modest 42 Beyer for his hard-fought three-quarter-length victory at Belmont Park on July 14. The 46-point spread means that even if Bay Park Boy regresses, No Flaws still must improve by leaps and bounds to be fast enough to come close to him.

Pletcher, who won the 2009 Aspirant with Ibboyee, shows good numbers with 2-year-olds who won their career debut coming back in a non-graded stakes. He is 6 for 17 (35 percent) in that category over the past five years.

Among the maidens, French Wine may be the most intriguing prospect. He is a half-brother to Northern Netti, who won the $107,000 Bouwerie at Belmont Park as a 3-year-old in 2008. French Wine’s trainer, Michael Ferraro, is 5 for 19 (26 percent) with his 2-year-old first-time starters.

The 65 Beyer that Wildcat’s Smile earned for her Aug. 14 at Saratoga is 20 points better than what locally based One Smart Farrah got for her 5 3/4-length score over open company maidens on Aug. 11.

Based on pedigree, the filly with the best chance of pulling a surprise in her career debut is Winna Winna, who ships in from Churchill Downs for trainer Michael Lauer. Winna Winna is a half-sister to Mor Chances, who won 11 of 45 starts, including five stakes, and $505,000.