12/30/2009 1:00AM

Peppi Knows has license to improve


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Buddy's Saint got a lot of attention for his 4 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes here at Aqueduct in November, but little was made of the effort turned by runner-up Peppi Knows.

While Buddy's Saint prepares to hop on the Triple Crown trail in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in February, Peppi Knows is scheduled to make a return trip to New York for Saturday's $65,000 Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct. The Count Fleet, run at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track, is the first New York stakes for 3-year-olds in 2010. Peppi Knows drew post 4 in a field of 8.

Peppi Knows, a gelded son of Stephen Got Even, went 3 for 5 as a 2-year-old, winning a $40,000 maiden claiming race and an allowance race at Penn National before shipping to Presque Isle Downs, where he finished third in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Juvenile over a synthetic surface. He ran those three races for trainer Tim Kreiser, who will again be the trainer of record for the Count Fleet.

In his two most recent starts, a victory in the Finger Lakes Juvenile and his second in the Remsen, Samuel Keyrouze was the trainer of record. Kreiser said that since he didn't have a New York license, owner Philip Messina let Keyrouze take care of the horse for those two starts. Kreiser said he also thought that Messina was going to sell the horse.

"They had some pretty good offers, but they didn't sell him and I got him back,'' said Kreiser, who will have his New York license for Friday's race. He said Peppi Knows will be his first starter at a New York track in his 15-year training career.

In the Remsen, Peppi Knows was stretching out from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Peppi Knows rated in fourth position while on the inside early, but then tipped out to be four to five wide down the backstretch. Buddy's Saint made his move earlier than did Peppi Knows, who came into the stretch four wide. Peppi Knows then began leaning in on horses through the stretch, which Kreiser said cost the horse from making it closer at the finish.

"The only bad habit he has is he has a tendency to get in,'' Kreiser said. "He did that the first two times he ran. He wants to lay in on horses. If you watch the [Remsen], he had a hard time handling him or he would have made it a little better race. Hopefully second time going long he'll be really tough. It was a pretty tall order we gave him last time from six furlongs to a mile and an eighth, but he responded pretty good.''

Luis Belmonte, who rode the horse in the Remsen, has the return call.

The Count Fleet field is led by Ibboyee, who has won three New York-bred stakes, including the Damon Runyon last out; Turbo Speed, a Pennsylvania-bred son of Louis Quatorze who is 3 for 3, including a victory in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes; and Our Commander, a winner of three straight, including the Maryland Juvenile Championship last out.