06/10/2010 12:00AM

Mighty Morris has the speed to control


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Saturday's $100,000 Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth Park drew a field of only five, and early speed is at a premium. That's a situation that favors Mighty Morris.

A 5-year-old gelding, Mighty Morris doesn't have the Beyer Speed Figures of some of the other contenders in the 1 1/16-mile Skip Away, but that can change in a hurry on Saturday if Mighty Morris is able to shake loose early on and control the tempo. He has faced strictly New York-breds in his first 11 starts, and this seems to be a very good spot for his first start against open stakes runners. Mighty Morris has won 3 of his last 4 starts, and he comes off the best Beyer Figure of his career, earned in the Packett's Landing Stakes at Aqueduct. Trained by Tom Bush, Mighty Morris drew post 3, and jockey David Cohen will ride this son of Wheelaway for the first time.

Cool Coal Man is another horse with the early speed to get position, and that will go a long way in the Skip Away, named for the winner of the 1996 Haskell Invitational and the 1997 Breeders' Cup Classic. Cool Coal Man was off the board in his latest, the Grade 3 Alysheba at Churchill Downs, but he ran into some traffic trouble there, something that seems unlikely in this short field. He drew post 2 for the Skip Away, and Elvis Trujillo rides for trainer Nick Zito.

Gone Astray, the main stretch threat in the Skip Away, was made the 9-5 morning line favorite by the track handicapper, Brad Thomas. Gone Astray, trained by Shug McGaughey, hasn't been out since enduring a troubled trip in the $1 million Charles Town Classic back in April, but he has been training well toward his return. He will break from post 4. Eddie Castro, who was aboard Gone Astray for his wins in last year's Ohio and Pennsylvania derbies, picks up the mount.

Bullsbay hasn't won since taking the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap last year, but he has been facing some tough fields. He was off the board after traffic trouble in his latest, the Grade 3 William D. Schaefer at Pimlico. A stone closer to be ridden by Joe Bravo, Bullsbay will be looking for some help from the pacesetters.

Sir Whimsey, with Cornelio Velasquez in the irons, will break from the rail in the Skip Away, the third of 12 races on the Saturday card.