06/12/2010 12:00AM

Pair look to break through


Fenway Sox and Bold Direction, a pair of lightly raced horses who nearly always run well but so far have settled for small pieces of the purse rather than the winner's share, will seek to secure their elusive second career victory in Tuesday's featured eighth race at Finger Lakes.

The $16,800 allowance for nonwinners of two lifetime drew a field of seven and will be contested at six furlongs.

The 4-year-old Fenway Sox looks like the fastest horse in the field. The question is whether he will be ready to run his best while making his first start since early November. There are conflicting signals that make it difficult to judge what to expect from Fenway Sox, who has four runner-up finishes to go along with his lone victory in seven lifetime starts.

On the plus side, last week Fenway Sox breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60, the best move among 25 horses who worked at the distance on June 8. But his trainer, Paul Barrow, is just 2 for 28 with sprinters returning from an absence of more than 180 days the last three years, according to DRF's Formulator.

Fenway Sox needed three races to win his maiden last summer, then was second in three subsequent starts at this level, including a near-miss by a head as the odds-on favorite in a four-horse field. His Beyer Speed Figure from that race, a 69, is close to the par of 71 for a first-level allowance at Finger Lakes.

The 3-year-old Bold Direction, awarded second money in his career debut at Aqueduct in March and second-best in his next two races, finally got the job done last time out while running against New York-breds for a $15,000 claiming tag in his second start at Finger Lakes. He was claimed out of that May 29 race by Chris Englehart, who is already 14 wins ahead of his closest competitor in his bid for his eighth consecutive leading trainer title at Finger Lakes.

Englehart owns a 28-percent strike rate first time off the claim since January 2009 and is 2 for 6 when he puts his new acquisitions into allowance company.

The other logical contender is another 3-year-old, Piano Star. He comes back at the same level 10 days after finishing second by a length. His best race in five lifetime starts came last season over a sloppy track.

The other four horses -- Googleized, Suite Ernie B, Second Mortgage, and Badge of Red -- offer little appeal with a collective record of 4 for 86.