05/29/2008 11:00PM

Ravalo has options in Boyes


It will be a classic battle of speed versus closers Sunday in the $100,000 Karl Boyes Memorial at Presque Isle Downs. A talented field of seven older horses goes postward in the 5 1/2-furlong event.

Ravalo, trained by Don Barr, drew the inside post. He may have a slight advantage in that jockey Mike Luzzi will have the option of going for the lead early or laying just off the pace, a tactic that worked well for Ravalo over Presque Isle's Tapeta surface last year when he went 2 for 2. Ravalo has won his last two races, the $53,000 Allens Prospect at Pimlico on April 19 and the $70,000 Decathlon at Monmouth on May 10. In both races, the son of Mutakddim led from gate to wire.

Should Ravalo get used up in an early speed duel, the race will set up perfectly for Santana Springs or Connections, the only two closers in the race and the second- and third-place finishers in the inaugural running of this race last year.

Connections, ridden by Rex Stokes, will break from the outside post, and the abundance of good early speed to his inside should work to his advantage. Trained by Mike Dini, Connections has been off since Nov. 18 when he won the Grade 3 Kennedy Road at Woodbine. Connections has trained forwardly, posting bullet works at Arlington Park on May 17 with a best-of-57 going four furlongs and on May 25 with a best-of-40 going five furlongs. Connections has won 4 of 7 races over synthetic surfaces.

Santana Springs, trained by Steve Asmussen, also will be running late under Ryan Fogelsonger. Beaten only 1 3/4 lengths in this race last year by Indian Chant, Santana Springs has the advantage of being the only horse to have worked recently over the Presque Isle surface.

The remainder of the field is Pete's Wonder, Makin Peace, Night Stand, and B.B. Mancini.