05/29/2002 11:00PM

Philadelphia Park track report


As 2-year-olds last season, Volley Ball and Oswayo split a pair of close decisions in stakes races at Philadelphia Park.

The two rivals renew their acquaintance in Saturday's $50,000 Peppy Addy, the first of 13 stakes for Pennsylvania-breds this season at the Bensalem, Pa., track.

Depending on how much weight handicappers place on current form and recency, Oswayo would seem to hold a keen advantage coming into this seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds. Based at Penn National with trainer Todd Beattie, Oswayo has won his last two starts, an allowance at Charles Town and a statebred stakes at his home track. His last victory was worth an 85 Beyer Speed Figure.

Volley Ball, trained by Ben Perkins Jr., will be making his first start since last November. He has prepped for his 3-year-old debut with a string of fast workouts at Monmouth Park, including a best-of-22 four-furlong move of 48 seconds on Monday.

Volley Ball's best Beyer of 92 came in his second career start when he defeated Oswayo by 1 3/4 lengths. Even off a six-month layoff, he seems quite capable of matching or exceeding the best recent figure by Oswayo, his chief rival in the 13-horse field.

It's also feasible to build a case for Midnite Coach and Pal's Partner.

In his first stakes try, the $30,000 Danzig on May 10, Midnite Coach lost a photo to Oswayo by a nose. He also runs well at Philly Park, where two of his three career wins have occurred.

Pal's Partner is 0 for 4 this season, facing open company in New York and Maryland. In his two tries in statebred stakes last year, Pal's Partner was just a nose behind Owayo in the Pennsylvania Futurity and 2 3/4 lengths behind victorious Volley Ball in the Storm Cat.