Updated on 09/16/2011 8:44AM

Gygistar goes long in the Dwyer

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Adam Coglianese
Gygistar will make his first attempt beyond seven furlongs Saturday against five other 3-year-olds in the Dwyer.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Gygistar, undefeated in three sprint starts this year, including a 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge, enters uncharted waters in Sunday's $150,000 Dwyer at Belmont Park.

Gygistar will be tested for the first time beyond seven furlongs in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer, which drew a field of six 3-year-olds. Gygistar will vie for the favorite's role with Yankee Gentleman, who finished fourth in the Riva Ridge as the favorite.

The Grade 2 Dwyer will give Gygistar's trainer, Mark Hennig, an idea of what the future will hold for the gelding - sprints or longer races. Hennig said from what he has seen from Gygistar, who is 4 for 5 lifetime, the horse will handle the Dwyer's distance. "There's no reason to think he won't," Hennig said.

In each of his races, Gygistar has had a different rider. On Sunday, John Velazquez will be aboard Gygistar for the first time. Hennig said Gygistar, who has come from off the pace to win his three starts this year, isn't complicated to ride. "He does things pretty easily," Hennig said. "I think you can do whatever you want with him. He broke sharp last time and could have gone to the lead. I'll let [Velazquez] do what he feels best."

Gygistar drew post 6. Gygistar and Yankee Gentleman, who drew the rail, figure to be the quickest from the gate.

Yankee Gentleman was a front-running winner of an allowance race here in May at the Dwyer distance. A Storm Cat colt, he came back in the seven-furlong Riva Ridge and tired in the final furlong after carving out a second quarter in 22 seconds. He was beaten 5 1/2 lengths by Gygistar.

Bill Mott, Yankee Gentleman's trainer, said he doesn't care whether his horse is on the lead, he just wants to see reasonable fractions. "Regardless of what the distance is, we have to slow down a little bit," said Mott, who said he might try Yankee Gentleman on the grass in the future.

Jerry Bailey, a winner of four of the last six runnings of the Dwyer, rides Yankee Gentleman. Trainer Nick Zito, who won the Dwyer with Agincourt in 1992 and Albert the Great two years ago, sends out the uncoupled entry of American Style and Nothing Flat.

Nothing Flat, a closer, has finished first or second in five career races and has improved on his Beyer Speed Figures with each start. In his last race, Nothing Flat finished a fast-closing second to the undefeated Running Tide in the Leonard Richards. My Man Ryan and Heir D'Twine complete the field.

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