11/11/2009 1:00AM

Lemon Cream Pie a sharp horse


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - His ability to be effective from on or off the pace gives Lemon Cream Pie the edge in a competitive third-level optional $75,000 claiming race that serves as Friday's feature at Aqueduct. A field of nine was entered for the $50,000 race, which is carded at one mile on the turf.

Two starts back, in a second-level allowance at Belmont, Lemon Cream Pie settled in third behind the runoff speed of Brother Nick. Under patient handling from Eibar Coa, Lemon Cream Pie struck the front in midstretch before cruising to a one-length victory.

Last out, in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker, Lemon Cream Pie was sent to the front from his outside post, got loose on an uncontested lead, and succumbed late to finish second to Operation Red Dawn. Though beaten by 1 1/2 lengths, Lemon Cream Pie finished 6 1/2 lengths clear of the rest of the field.

Jockey Eddie Castro had to use Lemon Cream Pie early in the race, running an opening quarter in 23.75 seconds.

"He looked like the only speed," said Jimmy Jerkens, the trainer of Lemon Cream Pie. "With the outside post he had to go a little quicker than you would have liked and it told on him late. Any kind of a fast burst tells later on.''

Jerkens put Lemon Cream Pie in this race after the Red Reality Stakes, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles, failed to fill.

Broad River is one of five horses entered for the optional claiming price. He was also offered for $75,000 on Oct. 9 when he won a race similar to this at Belmont Park in gate-to-wire fashion. The horse he beat that day, Expansion, came back to win the Red Smith here last weekend.

Yorktown won a second-level allowance at Monmouth in August, and was entered in several spots thereafter that were rained off the turf. He eventually wound up in the Knickerbocker, but didn't seem to care for the soft ground and finished last. Trainer Graham Motion is most certainly hoping for firm turf on Friday.

Gimme Credit is riding a 19-race losing streak dating back to June 17, 2007. He is coming off a second-place finish in the Mohawk Handicap against New York-breds on Oct. 22.

Blues Street and Yield Bogey dead-heated for win in a one-mile allowance here last November and are back in this spot.