08/21/2010 3:28PM

Levine, City Broad look strong in Union Avenue


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.– Last summer, nothing could go right for Bruce Levine. This summer, little has gone wrong for the veteran trainer.

After going 1 for 48 at the 2009 Saratoga meet, Levine entered Saturday’s program a more than respectable 6 for 29, putting himself in a four-way tie for fifth in the standings. Levine’s prospects for continued success look good in Monday’s $70,000 Union Avenue Stakes when he sends out City Broad in the six-furlong race for New York-bred fillies and mares.

City Broad, a 5-year-old daughter of City Zip, has finished first or second in her last eight starts dating back to Nov.  27, 2008. She has defeated New York-breds the last three times she’s faced them. In three open company allowance races at Monmouth, City Broad has two wins and a neck loss to the California shipper Jehan.

“She got real good this summer,” Levine said. “We’re taking a shot. We’re spotting a lot of weight, I’m not crazy about that.”

City Broad is the co-highweight at 124 pounds with Meese Rocks. However, the two are only spotting 2 to 6 pounds to the field.

City Broad has shown speed in each of her last two starts, but Levine attributes that to the fact she has drawn inside in both races. Monday, she will break from post 7 under Ramon Dominguez, who guided to her an off-the-pace win at Aqueduct in February off a 16-month layoff.

“She can do whatever you want,” Levine said.

Trainer Ed Barker feels the same way about Meese Rocks, who has won from on and off the pace. Meese Rocks comes off a stellar effort in the Fleet Indian Stakes where she was beaten only a head by My Dinah. That race was at seven furlongs. The Union Avenue is at six, a distance at which Meese Rocks is 5 for 7.

“Seven-eighths may be a tad too far,” Barker said. “She come out of the race good, she’s training fabulous, she’ll run good. This filly gains weight between races. She’s like a bull.”

La Concerto and Gold for the Queen, who finished one-two in the Arctic Queen Handicap at Finger Lakes on July 17, are back in this spot and are likely to duke it out on the lead.

Shine Upon, who cuts back to six furlongs after a fourth in the Fleet Indian, is a threat from just off the pace.