08/26/2009 11:00PM

Look beyond King's Bishop favorites


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When the 3-year-olds enter the starting gate for Saturday's Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on the Travers undercard, the bulk of the public's attention will be focused on two horses: Munnings and Big Drama.

Yet the King's Bishop is far more than a two-horse race. As many as four to five entrants have a realistic shot at victory, and one in particular, Capt. Candyman Can, has almost as good a chance of winning as the favorites - at a much fatter price.

The reason? He lacks the name recognition of Munnings and Big Drama - although he is a multiple graded stakes winner and narrowly comes off the top last-race Beyer Speed Figure in the field.

He hasn't run against Rachel Alexandra - as both Munnings and Big Drama have in the Haskell and Preakness, respectively - and I expect his sprint achievements might go somewhat unnoticed in the King's Bishop.

Capt. Candyman Can has run against Quality Road, the Travers favorite, finishing second in the Grade 2 Amsterdam over the Saratoga main track Aug. 3.

Adding to Capt. Candyman Can's attraction in the King's Bishop is the race's seven-furlong distance. He is perfect in three starts at seven furlongs - all in stakes.

He also seems likely to move forward off the Amsterdam, which was a prep for this race after trainer Ian Wilkes freshened him over the summer to ready him for Saratoga.

As for Munnings and Big Drama, they are legitimately good runners - quick and battle tested. But my feeling is that they will drop below their 2-1 and 3-1 odds on the morning line, and in that case, they would be underlays.

Capt. Candyman Can presents the best stakes wagering opportunity on the Travers card.

Northern Belle may get perfect trip

Shifting from Saratoga to the Jersey Shore, I'm intrigued by Northern Belle in the Miss Woodford Stakes at Monmouth Park.

A six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies, it drew an abundance of pace - with five of the seven entrants preferring to race on the lead or push the pace. One of the two who does not need the lead to win is - you guessed it - Northern Belle.

A stalker drawn in post 3, she looks perfectly positioned to get a great inside tracking trip and gradually wear down the speed.

She is a fast and consistent filly - having been on the board in all eight of her career starts, while earning Beyer Speed Figures of 87 to 88 in four of her last five races. If able to duplicate those figures, she should be tough to beat.

My lone concern is that she has been made the 5-2 morning-line favorite, and if she drops below 2-1, I would consider her a pass and move on to another race.P

Just Rushing could be overlooked

Turf sprinters are headlined north of the border at Woodbine in the $200,000 Play the King Stakes, a seven-furlong race.

My play is Just Rushing, part of an uncoupled owner/trainer entry with the speedy Jungle Wave. The defending champion, Just Rushing could start at somewhat of an overlaid price, with his stablemate likely to garner more mutuel attention.

Despite the sharpness of Jungle Wave, whose only loss in three starts this year was to graded stakes winner Fatal Bullet on Woodbine's Polytrack, Just Rushing is preferred at seven-eighths, a distance that suits his stalking style.

An 8-year-old Wild Rush gelding, Just Rushing has also repeatedly proven his class by winning 16 races from 35 starts, and by running well in such prominent contests as the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile - a race in which he was third last year.

He also shows ascending Beyer Speed Figures, and looks poised to return to his peak numbers from last year, when he posted figures in the 100-102 range.

Ferneley's last better than it looks

Lastly, heading west to California for the Del Mar Mile Handicap, the play is Ferneley, who ran a close third in the Wickerr Stakes earlier in the meet - a race he might have won with a better trip.

Racing widest of all 10 runners, he fell 2 1/4 lengths short of victorious Colonel John at the finish - but raced 24 more feet than that rival, according to Trakus data.

Colonel John is not in the Del Mar Mile, though runner-up Becrux is. But it is important to note that Ferneley, who was a neck behind Becrux in the Wickerr, raced 62 more feet than Becrux, due to his wide journey.

Ferneley drew post 9 of 10 in the Del Mar Handicap, a mile race on the grass - creating the possibility of another wide journey. But with the speedy Monterey Jazz entered, perhaps the field will be strung out, allowing jockey Joel Rosario the chance to tuck in Ferneley and save more ground than he was able to do in the Wickerr.