04/19/2010 11:00PM

Jerkens has a horse to fit any eventuality


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Rain or shine, turf or dirt, trainer Jimmy Jerkens appears to have a strong hand to play in Thursday's feature at Aqueduct.

If Thursday's second-level optional $50,000 claiming race scheduled for 1 1/16 miles remains on the turf, Jerkens looks live with Thou Swell. If forecasted rains materialize and force the race to the dirt - and to be run at a mile around one turn - then Jerkens looks even better with Convocation.

Thou Swell will be dropping in class and distance in Thursday's seventh race. Last out, Thou Swell finished last, 13 3/4 lengths behind Presious Passion in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at 1 3/8 miles at Gulfstream.

"I thought he'd like going that far, but I guess he doesn't,'' Jerkens said.

In his start prior to the Mac Diarmida, Thou Swell finished third, one length behind Pinckney Hill, an Angel Penna-trained colt who came back to win a third-level allowance in his next start. Thou Swell appeared to be making a winning move along the rail but hung.

"He was a little sluggish early, then he moved up nicely and then just hung,'' Jerkens said.

Thou Swell will break from post 5 under David Cohen.

Into My Soul was the beaten favorite in the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 14, 2009, but hasn't run since. The horse appears to be working well for his return and does own a win over Aqueduct's turf course. Cornelio Velasquez rides Into My Soul for Richard Dutrow Jr.

If this race is switched to dirt, Convocation looks like a standout, based on his return race last month at Gulfstream. Sidelined since last August due to a injury, Convocation returned with a good-looking five-length victory in a first-level allowance going a mile. He earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. Jerkens was pointing Convocation to the Grade 3 Westchester on opening day at Belmont on April 30, but isn't thrilled about the prospect of having to run against Bribon, last year's Westchester and Metropolitan Handicap winner.

Mor Chances, who was cross-entered in Wednesday's Billy Redcoat Stakes at Aqueduct, is also entered as a main-track entrant only in this spot.

* A couple of promising 3-year-olds who won maiden races over the inner track in their second starts are scheduled to meet in Thursday's third, a first-level optional $75,000 claiming race at six furlongs. Rule by Night, who rolled to a 7 1/4-length win on Jan. 23, goes up against Triple A. Rating, a 3 3/4-length winner on March 27.