09/03/2004 11:00PM

Prince Arch 'clumsy' but talented


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - rarely breaks from the gate well in his races, but he certainly comes on at the end.

Trainer Ken McPeek has freshened up Prince Arch off an eight-week layoff for Monday's Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga, a $100,000-added feature at 1 3/16 miles for 3-year-olds on the turf.

A browse down the trip comments of Prince Arch's races shows a horse who frequently encounters trouble at the start of his races. He often breaks outward and gets bumped at the start, and usually races wide. McPeek said Prince Arch doesn't look for trouble, it's just a consequence of his size.

"He's just a really big horse, a little bit clumsy," he said. "He's a horse that needs some momentum. He doesn't get away well, but he keeps coming. That's all that matters."

Prince Arch is the only horse to defeat division leader Kitten's Joy, winner of the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington, on the turf. He turned the tables on Kitten's Joy in the Grade 3 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs on June 12, after finishing second to Kitten's Joy in two graded stakes earlier this year. Prince Arch was third in the Virginia Derby on July 10 behind Kitten's Joy and Artie Schiller, and has been working well at Churchill Downs since.

McPeek has been eyeing the Saranac since the Virginia Derby, and Prince Arch is in excellent condition for a fall campaign, he said.

"Ideal distance, ideal timing," McPeek said about the Saranac.

Prince Arch, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, started his career in anonymity, running in two maiden claiming races on the dirt. McPeek ran him on the turf for the first time Jan. 1 at Calder and he ran seventh. Since then, he has not finished worse than third on the grass and has two stakes wins.

Mustanfar is also a Grade 3 winner on the turf. He won the Grade 3 Lexington at Belmont by disqualification July 18, and then returned to run second behind Artie Schiller in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Handicap here Aug. 9. Mustanfar is a threat on turf or dirt.

Dynamite Flyer, trained by Sanna Hendriks, is undefeated in three career starts, all on the grass. He steps up from allowance company for his first stakes try.