04/22/2010 12:00AM

Jerkens stable smaller, still strong


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Not looking a day over 81 years old - which he turned Wednesday - Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens was back in familiar territory on the Belmont Park backstretch Thursday morning.

Well, somewhat familiar territory.

For after spending a couple of decades in Barn 30 at Belmont, Jerkens has been moved to Barn 32 to accommodate what has become a smaller stable. Barn 32 has 14 stalls, which coincidentally is the number of horses Jerkens will have when all are back from Florida. Allen's son, Jimmy, is now in Barn 30.

"For this many horses, it's nice," Allen Jerkens said of his new digs. "We're going to have 14. Maybe we'll get more later, and I'll have to hustle some more stalls."

Though he is down in numbers, Jerkens's spirits seemed to be up Thursday morning as he sat in his golf cart outside his new barn. The best horse Jerkens has is Formidable, who will ship from south Florida to Kentucky for the $100,000 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint Handicap next Friday.

Formidable has gone 3 for 3 this year for Jerkens, including an allowance win in his turf debut last out at Gulfstream.

"A lot of grass courses are different; it's very fast, the one down there," Jerkens said, referring to Gulfstream Park. "He's the kind of horse that will probably run on most surfaces."

Formidable is a half-brother to Medallist, whom Jerkens trained to four stakes wins. He is also a half-brother to Mad for Smarty, a 3-year-old Jerkens is quite high on even though the horse finished eighth in his debut at Gulfstream on Feb. 20.

"He had a shin bothering him out of the race," Jerkens said. "I got high hopes for him."

Jerkens still has Le Grand Cru, who went winless in four starts at Gulfstream but is possible for the Grade 3 Westchester Stakes on Friday's opening day at Belmont Park, where Le Grand Cru is 2 for 3. One of those victories came in the off-the-turf Kelso Stakes last Oct. 4.

Benzel points Dynaslew to Beaugay

Seth Benzel's stable has grown, thanks in large part to an infusion of horses from Live Oak Plantation. One of those horses is Dynaslew, who won a second-level allowance at Gulfstream on April 2 and is being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont on May 1.

Dynaslew won 2 of 8 starts when she was with Bill Mott - for whom Benzel once worked - and seemed to show a preference for firm turf. Benzel also believes she has a preference for being forwardly placed.

"If she has to outkick them the last quarter-mile, she's not going to do it," Benzel said. "She has to start her run a little earlier than anybody else. If she gets a couple of lengths on some nice turf horses, she's going to be tough to run down."

On Thursday, Dynaslew worked five furlongs in 1:03.20 over the turf course at Palm Meadows. That was the fastest of nine works at the distance.

Another horse Benzel has for Live Oak is the New York-bred colt Cash'n in Dixie, who has 2 wins and 2 seconds from 4 starts and could start on Derby Day at Belmont in a prep for the Kingston Handicap later in the meet.

Benzel has Forgotten Dynasty, a winner of three consecutive turf races at Gulfstream Park, nominated to the Fort Marcy, but Forgotten Dynasty is not expected to run in that spot.

Benzel, who went out on his own last spring, will have 18 horses at Belmont with another 30 stabled at Saratoga.

Rule by Night impresses

Rule by Night looks like a 3-year-old who bears watching for the second-half of the season.

Sidelined by a foot issue after winning a maiden race by 7 1/4 lengths on Jan. 23, Rule by Night returned to the races Thursday with an impressive 2 1/4-length victory in a first-level allowance score.

After dueling outside of Storm on the Moon through a quarter in 22.83 seconds, Rule by Night took the lead midway around the far turn. He was challenged to the outside by Triple A. Rating - the even-money favorite based on a second-out win March 27 - but ran away from that rival in the stretch. Edgar Prado took out his whip but didn't use it as Rule by Night finished six furlongs in 1:10.30.

"He ran very professional," said Prado, who won five races on Thursday's card and has won with 13 of his 31 mounts since April 11. "He was waiting for me to ask him what to do."

"Personally, I thought he was very impressive," said Toby Sheets, the New York-based assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "That horse came to him and broke again. He's a nice horse."

Rule by Night is owned by Al Gold's Gold Square Stable. There are no immediate plans for Rule by Night. Sheets said he doesn't believe the horse will be limited by distance. Rule by Night is a son of Malibu Moon out of the Silver Deputy mare Silver Reserve.

* C.C. Lopez, who suffered a small decompressed fracture in one of his vertebrae in a spill March 12, will begin getting on horses next week at Monmouth Park and is expected to be back to race-riding on opening day, May 22, according to his agent, Joe Rosen.