11/15/2010 4:31PM

Rodriguez looks to double up in stakes


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Because two divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes failed to fill Sunday, the week starts with a stakes doubleheader at Aqueduct.

Juvenile divisions of the New York Stallion were combined and brought back Wednesday as the $100,000, six-furlong Great White Way (race 3), which goes with a field of eight, including two fillies. Later, 10 2-year-old fillies entered the $60,000, one-mile Swirlaway overnight stakes (race 8).
Rudy Rodriguez sends out contenders in each race, Verbosity in the Great White Way and Saltamontes in the Swirlaway. Both won their debuts impressively as well-kept secrets.

Verbosity is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line in the Great White Way, after dueling for the lead and drawing away at better than 9-1 at Belmont.

“The last three weeks before that race, he started to improve,” said Rodriguez, who won the Belmont title and is tied for second in the Aqueduct standings. “He’s got a nice, solid build, and I thought he was training very good, but there were a couple horses in there I didn’t think he could beat, so I was surprised he won like that.”

Verbosity drew outside his two likeliest pace rivals, the Rick Dutrow-trained Eminent Tale, the 8-5 choice after dueling with odds-on Bug Juice in the New York Breeders’ Futurity, and For Wes, the pace-call leader in his last three starts on dirt.

Freuds Ana Streak, first off the claim by Tony Dutrow, has had eight weeks off since running third at Delaware Park to Royal Currier, subsequently an overnight stakes winner at Belmont.

After a debut win at Saratoga at 12-1, Saltamontes came back to beat Queen’s Harbor and odds-on Yawkey Way in an overnight stakes at Belmont, before a runner-up finish in the Maid of the Mist. Originally aimed by Rodriguez for the shorter Fifth Avenue (filly) division of the N.Y. Stallion, which was not used on Sunday, she winds up trying a mile in the Swirlaway.

“I’m a little concerned about the distance,” Rodriguez admitted, “but hopefully the rest of them don’t want to go that far.”

The freshened Yawkey Way, a two-time winner at the Spa, returns for Chad Brown, who began the week atop the standings at 4-4-1 from 10 starters.

The Christophe Clement-trained Miss Valentine looms a stretch threat after overcoming traffic to win her debut under confident handling from Ramon Dominguez.

Floating Alone has trained well since running third in the Maid of the Mist for Tom Bush.