08/17/2005 11:00PM

Pair of stakes pit Asmussen vs. Klesaris


Trainers Steve Klesaris and Steve Asmussen appear to be holding all the aces in a pair of six-figure stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds on Saturday at Finger Lakes.

Klesaris and Asmussen have major contenders in both the $128,275 Aspirant, which drew a field of six colts and geldings, and the $132,575 Lady Finger for fillies. Both stakes will be contested at six furlongs.

The Klesaris-trained Speed of Sound, given two months to freshen after a narrow loss in the Grade 3 Flash Stakes at Belmont Park, will likely be favored for the third straight time in the Aspirant, which goes as race 6.

An easy winner of his career debut in May, was the 3-5 favorite in the five-furlong Flash and finished third in a tight photo, two noses shy of the winner.

Asmussen's colt earned a big Beyer Speed Figure of 86 winning his career debut at Belmont by four lengths on July 3. The front-running One Way Flight may have been aided by an extremely fast main track in his victory. The third-place finisher from that race, Trading Pro, came back to win his next start, but with a mediocre 68 Beyer.

Little Miss Zip, trained by Klesaris, and Asmussen's filly No Reason seem to tower over the competition in the Lady Finger (race 8).

is a daughter of freshman sire City Zip, a four-time graded stakes winner at 2. She crushed seven rivals, earning an 88 Beyer, when she won her career debut at Belmont. She failed to show the same kind of speed when sixth of seven on opening day at Saratoga in the Grade 2 Adirondack, but may have disliked a track that was sealed and that played extremely slow.

was sent off at even money in her career debut last month at Belmont and cruised to an 11 1/2-length win, earning an 82 Beyer in the slop. Her sire, Precise End, won the Display at 2.

Those looking for a viable alternative to the obvious favorites might consider , a daughter of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Is It True. Although her maiden win at Calder was worth only a 59 Beyer, the fillies who ran fifth and sixth in that race came back to win their next start, including Wonder Lady Anne L, who romped by nine lengths and got an 81 Beyer.

* The card also includes the $50,000 Proud Puppy Handicap, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares.

Keesler, winner of the Arctic Queen Handicap at Finger Lakes in her last start, goes for her fifth win in a row, but must carry 126 pounds.

Her main rival, Speed Bag, also ran on that July 4 card, finishing second in the Niagara. Three of the fillies from that race came back to win their next start, including Carlow, who took an allowance at Saratoga.