06/06/2008 11:00PM

Ready Set preps for Barbaro


It's fitting that Monday's $55,000 Floor Show at Delaware Park, an overnight stakes for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles, is the local prep for the Grade 3, $300,000 Barbaro on July 13.

That's because the clear-cut favorite in a likely field of five is Ready Set, who comes from the same connections that guided the ill-fated Barbaro to a win in the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

Ready Set, an $800,000 purchase at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2006, is owned by the Lael Stables of Gretchen and Roy Jackson and trained by Michael Matz.

A son of Touch Gold, Ready Set has run two of his best races over Delaware's main track. He won his maiden by 10 lengths in his second start last September and most recently returned from a 2 1/2-month freshening to score by three lengths in a second-level allowance.

Matz, who has won with 8 of his first 19 starters at the meet, shows a good record of 8 for 22 (36 percent) with horses looking for two wins in a row following a layoff.

Ready Set's stiffest challenge figures to come from Deputyville, who faces softer after chasing Casino Drive in the Grade 2 Peter Pan. Deputyville's New York-based trainer, Gary Contessa, is 3 for 7 shipping into Delaware this meet.

Another New York trainer, Joe Demola, has a coupled entry, but the stronger half, True Quality, ran in Saturday's Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard.