03/27/2010 12:00AM

'Soda Pop' rising fast for Levine

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As a 3-year-old two years ago, Soda Pop Kid ran for a claiming tag as low as $10,500 on the bullring at Fairplex. By last fall, however, he had improved enough to win a first-level allowance at Belmont Park and missed by a head of clearing his second allowance condition at the Meadowlands.

Based with Bruce Levine in New York, Soda Pop Kid takes another crack at winning a second-level allowance in Monday's $43,000 feature at Philadelphia Park.

The six-furlong sprint drew a field of seven older horses and goes as race 9 on a 10-race card.

Soda Pop Kid got a feel for Philly Park's main track last month, when he earned a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure for finishing second in a starter allowance restricted to horses who had run for a claiming price of $12,500 or less. The winner that day, Lobo Del Norte, came back to win an optional $40,000 claimer March 10 with a 90 Beyer.

Soda Pop Kid will be making the second start of his form cycle, an angle that has produced a 16-for-40 (40 percent) hit rate for Levine-trained sprinters the last three years, according to DRF's Formulator.

Soda Pop Kid, who will break from the rail under Kendrick Carmouche, figures to get his stiffest competition from Maryland shipper Peter's Creek.

A 5-year-old trained by Mike Trombetta, Peter's Creek has been off since winning a first-level allowance with an 87 Beyer on Jan. 29 at Laurel.

Trombetta shows a 17-for-54 record (31 percent) with sprinters returning in 31 to 60 days the last three years. That includes an 8-for-29 record (28 percent) with horses he has run at Philly Park.

Two others, Slew of Smoke and Rhyad, show at least one race from last season that would be fast enough to contend in this spot, but both horses would need dramatic form reversals.

Slew of Smoke, second in a similar spot last July at Delaware Park, is moving up in class just nine days after running last against conditioned claimers at Laurel.

Rhyad has been off since January, but earned a career-high 93 Beyer returning from a similar layoff a year ago. A front-runner, he has been beaten a combined 52 lengths in his last three starts since September.