02/24/2011 3:55PM

Remand will be tough to catch in Stymie


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Remand, a lightly raced 4-year-old who kept tough company in limited action last year, takes on some old pros with considerably more experience but looms the one to catch and beat in Saturday’s $65,000 Stymie Stakes.

The Stymie drew a field of five but may shrink to four because Arson Squad, who was scratched from the John B. Campbell last Saturday due to a foot infection, is iffy to make the 1 1/8-mile race.

“I wanted to run at Laurel, but he came up with a foot infection, and I’m not sure if he’s going to make this race,” trainer Rick Dutrow said of Arson Squad, an 8-year-old multiple graded stakes winner with earnings approaching $1.2 million.

“He had been training good,” Dutrow said, referring to the gelding’s trio of bullet workouts following a third-place finish as the 7-5 favorite in the Evening Attire Stakes here six weeks ago. “But he’s trained good for what – seven years now? If it were run [Thursday], I’d have to scratch him. We’re just going to have to hope he can make the race.”

Based on an impressive allowance win first time out at the meet, in which he put away a pair of early challengers and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 97, Remand has a tactical edge as the lone speed. Even at his best, Arson Squad does not have the speed to go with him, and neither do Goombada Guska, Masala, or More Than a Reason. The latter is slated to make his third start in 16 days, seventh at the meet, and 66th overall for Randi Persaud.

Meanwhile, Remand makes just his eighth lifetime start in the Stymie. He had troubled trips against Grade 1 winners Eskendereya, Drosselmeyer, and Discreetly Mine through the first half of 2010 and returned in late November to chase Rule by Night’s blazing seven furlongs in 1:20.67 in the Groovy overnight stakes on Aqueduct’s main track.

John Terranova afforded Remand two more months to regroup after that race, and five weeks ago ran him at two turns for the first time in more than a year. The Successful Appeal colt responded with a breakthrough performance.

“He always threatened to be a nice horse,” Terranova said. “He ran into all the top 3-year-olds last year and was right there with a lot of them. He looks to be moving forward, and this looks like the right spot for him.”

The Stymie is the ninth race on a 10-race card and the third leg of a $250,000-guaranteed late pick four.