07/31/2010 2:56PM

Improving Sir Gusta meets shipper at Finger Lakes


Sir Gusta, a locally based 3-year-old who dramatically improved in his seventh attempt to clear his nonwinners-of-two allowance condition, and Coach Fruscio, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania shipper making his first start for leading trainer Chris Englehart, are the prime contenders in the first of two allowance races on Tuesday’s card at Finger Lakes.

Race 3, a $17,000 allowance for horses which have never won three races, will be contested at a mile and 40 yards.

Unable to record a Beyer Speed Figure higher than 63 in his first eight career starts, Sir Gusta jumped all the way to an 81 for his 8 1/4-length romp going a mile and 70 yards on July 15. The fourth-place finisher from that race, Wana Play, returned to win an allowance on July 29.

Although bettors are liable to be skeptical about whether Sir Gusta will bounce after such a huge step forward on the Beyer scale, DRF ’s Formulator shows that trainer Charlton Baker is 17 for 47 (36 percent) with winners returning in less than 30 days following a career-best Beyer.

Coach Fruscio has run well in three of his last four starts, all in routes at Philadelphia Park, at class levels ranging from $7,500 conditioned claimers to $12,500 starter allowance competition. A front-runner, Coach Fruscio’s recent Beyers of 68, 66, and 67 are close to the par of 73 for Tuesday’s class level at Finger Lakes.

Englehart, well on the way to his eighth consecutive leading trainer title at Finger Lakes, does well with new acquisitions who show a race within the past 30 days. He is 8 for 21 (38 percent) with horses making their first start following a trainer change in an allowance race.

The co-featured seventh race, a $16,800 allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs for fillies and mares who have never won two races, features a rematch between the 4-year-old Treat Her Right and the 3-year-old Elaine’s Pride.

When they met on July 17, Treat Her Right owned a clear lead for the first five furlongs before weakening to third, 1 1/4 lengths behind runner-up Elaine’s Pride. Trained by Daniel Poliziani, Elaine’s Pride will be making the third start of her current form cycle, which often produces a peak performance.

Treat Her Right, from the barn of second leading trainer Baker, is just 1 for 19 lifetime, but has only raced twice locally.

C.T. Queen, second each of the last two times she has raced at Finger Lakes, merits respect after flashing high speed and tiring going six furlongs on the Tapeta synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs.