Updated on 09/16/2011 8:54AM

Numbers point out Sassy Hound


In his last six starts, dating back to August, Sassy Hound shows a steady string of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. The six older sprinters Sassy Hound faces in Thursday night's $75,000 Christmas Handicap at Mountaineer Park have combined for just three Beyers of 100 or better - none since September.

No wonder the 5-year-old Sassy Hound is listed as the 3-5 morning-line favorite, even without stablemate Crossing Point, who has been scratched to run in Thursday's $100,000 Gravesend Handicap at Aqueduct. Sassy Hound is also cross-entered in the New York race.

Trained by Ben Feliciano, Sassy Hound most recently was a close third in the Grade 1 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park. He earned a 102 Beyer for that effort, the same number he achieved in his only stakes victory of the year, which came at Laurel in early August.

Feliciano is wrapping up a sensational season. He has won 10 of the 28 stakes in which he has run.

If there's a horse capable of upsetting Sassy Hound, it might be Golden Oldie, who appears to have regained his best form since the weather turned colder. Last winter at Turfway Park, Golden Oldie earned back-to-back Beyers of 100 and 102 in a pair of stakes, winning the one-mile Dust Commander by five lengths. The 6-year-old Golden Oldie was given some time off by trainer David Asbury after his form tailed off, but he prepped for this by winning a one-mile allowance at Mountaineer by 3 1/2 lengths last month.

The big question with Golden Oldie is distance. His best races have been at a mile, but he now must cut back to six furlongs, which might be too short for him.

Penn National-based Tonto Gusto has found a home away from home at Mountaineer, where he has won 6 of 9 starts. Trainer John Zimmerman has had phenomenal success shipping to Mountaineer, winning with 16 of his 35 starters (46 percent).

Despite his success over the surface, Tonto Gusto wasn't able to finish better than third in his two previous tries in stakes at Mountaineer.

Meandmyloveman, an Illinois shipper with 10 wins in 29 lifetime starts, most recently won an optional claimer at Hawthorne, but is is 0 for 2 in his two visits to Mountaineer this year.

Meetyouathebrig, best known for winning the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs as a 3-year-old in 2001, is just 1 for 6 at Mountaineer this year for new owner-trainer Edward Cash, and comes into this race off a layoff of nearly two months.

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