08/02/2006 11:00PM

River Downs: Follow the bloodlines


With its field restricted to 3-year-olds sired and bred in Ohio, and run over turf, a surface foreign to most of its entrants, the Horizon Stakes has for years presented a handicapping challenge to bettors at River Downs.

Provided the $50,000 Horizon remains on the grass Saturday, sifting through pedigrees in search of turf influences is a good starting point. And for those with a keen knowledge of Ohio pedigrees, and a long memory, Petey G qualifies as a potential player in the 1 1/16-mile Horizon.

Petey G, who has won or placed in his last five starts on dirt, is the eighth foal produced from a mating of the stallion Torcher and the broodmare What Gin. The most successful of the eight, Udrivemehome, was champion Ohio 3-year-old in 1997 on the basis of three stakes wins, including the Horizon.

The only Horizon entrant with a creditable turf performance is the only filly in the field, Sybles Angel, who finished third in the Horizon's filly counterpart, the Cincinnatian Stakes. Sybles Angel was third in the Queen City Oaks on July 22, which was declared a no-contest because of a gate malfunction, and might well give the Oaks another shot when that race is rerun next Sunday.

In the event the Horizon is moved to a wet main track, Fisticuff and Acts Like a King are ones to consider as both have won stakes in the mud. Distress Signal, a three-time winner at the meet, can also handle wet conditions.