11/15/2001 12:00AM

It's Volley Ball rules in the Futurity


Volley Ball, unbeaten in two career starts for trainer Ben Perkins Jr., is the colt to catch in Saturday's $50,000 Pennsylvania Futurity, the final stakes of the season at Philadelphia Park.

Volley Ball, who will break from the outside post in a field of 11 2-year-old colts and geldings with Tony Black aboard, won his debut as the 6-5 choice in a maiden sprint at Monmouth Park in early September, then led wire to wire to win the six-furlong Storm Cat Stakes at Philly Park as a heavy favorite on Oct. 6. His final time of 1:10.81 was faster than older multiple winners ran the distance two races later in the $150,000 Gallant Bob Handicap.

Oswayo and Pal's Partner, second and third, respectively, in the Storm Cat are back to take another shot at Volley Ball.

Oswayo, a Penn National-based colt trained by Todd Beattie, was beaten less than two lengths by Volley Ball despite being four wide on the turn. He is coming off a win against open allowance company at Laurel Park. His 89 Beyer Speed Figure from that race is competitive with the 92 Volley Ball earned in the Storm Cat.

Pal's Partner, who spent four of his seven career races competing in the claiming ranks, finished a length behind Oswayo as a 30-1 longshot in the Storm Cat. Proving that effort was no fluke, Pal's Partner returned to romp by four lengths in the Maryland Million Nursery at Pimlico.

West Virginia shipper Frankie R's Winner has won his two career starts at Mountaineer Park by a combined 11 3/4 lengths. His chances are enhanced by a rider switch to one of the East Coast's top jockeys, Mike McCarthy.

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