08/06/2006 12:00AM

Saratoga stakes plays for Sunday, August 6


Sunday's featured Fourstardave Handicap is an unbettable race for me beyond singling Artie Schiller in pick-everythings, so we'll turn our attention to the other stakes on the card, the Cab Calloway New York Stallion Stakes for statebred 3-year-olds at a mile and an eighth on the grass.

The race is widely perceived as a two-horse race between Running Dog and Metro Meteor. I strongly prefer Running Dog and am going to try to get someone other than Metro Meteor to run second in the exacta.

Running Dog was running like a dog early in his career but has improved sharply of late and his lone grass race was a visually impressive victory that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 86, clearly tops in this field. The runner-up in that race, Red Zipper, was entered here but was scratched for an easier spot in yesterday's 10th race, where he validated Running Dog's race and figure with a victory.

Metro Meteor might look clearly like the main competition with two straight grass victories, the last with a Beyer of 83. The hitch is that those races were grass sprints at six and seven furlongs and today's race is at a mile and an eighth. Maybe Metro Meteor can stretch out and be a router, but until proven otherwise I'm betting he's better as a closing sprinter. He's by City Zip, a sprint sire, and trainer Linda Rice, while very talented, seems to do her best work at short distances. Additionally, there's other speed in the field, such as Oedipus O'Neal and blinkers-on Fairway Drive, one or both of whom will probably have to gun from their outside draws.

So who can we get to run second? Two starts back, Classic Impact edged Speaking Out in a maiden race that earned a Beyer of 81 that puts them squarely in the hunt at big prices. Both horses came out of that race and lost as heavy favorites next time out, but I'm convinced the number was legitimate. It was on a card with two other races at the same nine-furlong distance and the figures from those events have held up perfectly. Of the two I slightly prefer Classic Impact, who rallied from behind a tepid pace, but will use them both because Speaking Out will be a bigger price since he's technically still a maiden. For lesser amounts, I'll also use Say Tomorrow, One Goodknight and Classic Pack underneath in case I'm right about Metro Meteor and wrong about the quality of the Classic Impace-Speaking Out maiden race. Finally, I'll be greedy and play some trifectas trying to get Metro Meteor out of the money altogether.

One might invest $80 as follows:

$10 exacta partwheel: 4/16= $20

$4 exacta partwheel: 4/237= $12

$2 exacta partwheel: 16/146 = $ 8

$1 tri partwheel: 4/12367= $20

$1 tri partwheel: 12367/4/12367 = $20