Updated on 09/17/2011 11:06AM

Posse leads pack in competitive Amsterdam


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes will take a back seat to the more prestigious Whitney Handicap on Saturday's 10-race program at Saratoga. From a betting standpoint, however, the six-furlong, Grade 2 Amsterdam is unquestionably the more interesting of the two events, and it features a wide-open field of seven 3-year-olds led by the red-hot Posse.

Posse enters the Amsterdam sporting a three-race win streak that includes a nose decision over Midas Eyes in the Grade 2 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7.

Trainer Steve Asmussen readily admits that his main goal here this summer for Posse is the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes, and that he had originally planned on training his late-running sprint specialist up to that Aug. 23 race.

"The King's Bishop is a Grade 1, and that's very important to us at this point of his career," said Asmussen. "He's been doing excellent, but I felt he might not be sharp enough for the King's Bishop without another race under his belt.

"He's going up against a very strong field - after all, this is Saratoga - and there should be plenty of speed in here from start to finish," Asmussen said, "I am concerned about him getting up going three-quarters of a mile coming off a layoff."

Posse drew post 2 for the Amsterdam and will again have the services of regular rider Corey Lanerie.

Trust N Luck and Zavata appear to have the most early speed in the Amsterdam.

Trust N Luck has not started since finishing a tiring fourth in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19. Like Asmussen, trainer Ralph Ziadie is using Saturday's race as a stepping-stone to the seven-furlong King's Bishop later this month.

Trust N Luck was among the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby after his 5 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes. His stock dropped after he finished second behind Empire Maker as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and he was given some time off after his disappointing effort in the Lexington.

Zavata is also trying to revive his career, having fallen off form since moving to the head of the 2-year-old division here last summer with victories in the Tremont and Saratoga Special. Zavata comes off a victory in an optional claiming and allowance dash at Monmouth Park on June 26. Trainer Patrick Biancone was able to secure the services of Jerry Bailey aboard Zavata after Bailey's original mount for the Amsterdam, Mt. Carson, was withdrawn from consideration due to illness this week.

Scrimshaw, the only horse other than Funny Cide to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown, turns back to six furlongs for the Amsterdam but "may need the race a little," admitted trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Like Trust N Luck, Super Fuse ships up from Calder, where he finished a late-striding third behind Valid Video in the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes on July 12.

First Blush defeated Super Fuse to capture the Grade 3 Spectacular Bid Stakes in his 3-year-old debut but has been winless in his last three stakes starts. He will race in blinkers for the first time Saturday.

Great Notion has not started since finishing far back in

the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 12.

Amsterdam Stakes - The field

Purse: $150,000; 6 furlongs; Grade 2

1 Scrimshaw E. Prado 123 6-1
2 Posse C. Lanerie 123 9-5
3 Zavata J. Bailey 119 5-2
4 Great Notion P. Day 121 12-1
5 First Blush J. Chavez 123 15-1
6 Trust N Luck C. Velasquez 123 9-2
7 Super Fuse J. Santos 121 6-1

* Odds by Brian Pochman

* Television: Saturday, 5-6 p.m. (Eastern), ESPN2