04/25/2007 11:00PM

Lightly raced pair tops Withers


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The Kentucky Derby is still a week away, but fans could start gathering their Preakness handicapping notes on Saturday when Aqueduct runs the Grade 3, $150,000 Withers Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile.

The last two runnings of the Withers have produced a Preakness winner (Bernardini last year) and a Preakness runner-up (Scrappy T in 2005). This year's Withers drew a field of seven, led by the lightly raced pair of Street Magician and C P West.

The Withers tops a nine-race card that also includes the Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay Handicap Handicap for fillies and mares on the turf.

Street Magician, a son of Street Cry trained by Michael Trombetta, didn't race at 2, but has won two of his first three starts at 3. After finishing third in his debut on Jan. 27, Street Magician won a maiden race by eight lengths on Feb. 10 before gamely winning the Aventura Stakes by a half-length on March 31.

Though Street Magician has shown speed in each of his races, Trombetta believes he can stalk if somebody else wants the lead.

"My feeling is he isn't going to sit way far back, but he could sit off a horse if he has to," Trombetta said.

Street Magician will break from post 4 under Rafael Bejarano. At 123 pounds, Street Magician will spot five to seven pounds to the rest of the field.

C P West, a son of Came Home trained by Nick Zito, won his debut last summer at Saratoga. After finishing second in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont, C P West finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He needed surgery to remove chips from an ankle. In his only start at 3, he was beaten a nose in a first-level allowance race.

"He ran just like we thought he would," Zito said.

Our Sacred Honor, trained by Todd Pletcher, should appreciate the outside post after breaking slowly from the rail when third in the Aventura.

A live price play could be Mint Slewlep, who won a first-level allowance race at Laurel last out after finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham, his first start in nearly five months. He is trained by Robbie Bailes, who campaigned Scrappy T.