06/27/2013 4:14PM

Finger Lakes: Tequila Hero shortens up in Ontario County Stakes

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Tom Cooley Photography
Tequila Hero will shorten up from one mile and 40 yards to six furlongs for Saturday's Ontario County Stakes.

Based on what Tequila Hero has done in his first three starts this season, collecting two wins and a second, he sure looks like a better horse going two turns than he did as a late-closing sprinter in 2012.

Despite his success going long, Tequila Hero will be asked to shorten up to six furlongs for Saturday’s $50,000 Ontario County Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds.

In all three starts this year, Tequila Hero raced a mile and 40 yards against open company. He most recently came from slightly off the pace to defeat non-winners of three June 11. As a 2-year-old, Tequila Hero was 1 for 4 sprinting. But that win came in the six-furlong Aspirant Stakes at 24-1 in a race where Tequila Hero was cutting back sharply in distance from 1 1/16 miles.

Michael LeCesse, the owner and trainer of Tequila Hero, is 2 for 2 in stakes at Finger Lakes with horses switching from routes to sprints.
Tequila Hero’s two most intriguing opponents are Saint Arthur and Rambling.

Saint Arthur placed in three stakes while still a maiden last season, including a close third in the richest race of the season at Finger Lakes, the Breeders’ Futurity. He was seventh in his lone start this season June 8 at Belmont Park.

Saint Arthur’s trainer, Carlos Martin, is 1 for 23 over the past two seaons with dirt sprinters making their second start following a layoff. But he is 3 for 7 with stakes runners he has shipped to Finger Lakes.

Rambling has lost six straight since winning his career debut in January for a $25,000 tag. He was last of nine in his first start after being claimed in April. But high-percentage trainer Jeremiah Englehart shows a 5-for-13 record (38 percent) with horses making the second start of their form cycle and their second start off a claim.

Always for You needed nine tries to leave the maiden ranks, but he must be respected. His trainer, M. Anthony Ferraro, has won the Ontario County five times since 1998, including twice for Langpap Stables, the owner of Always for You.