08/22/2006 11:00PM

Spa Stakes Play for Wednesday

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Wednesday's featured Albany Handicap is worth $150k to six of the seven entrants but an extra $250k for favored Ferocious Won, who will earn that as a bonus if he wins the race to complete a sweep of the "Big Apple Triple" which began with the Mike Lee Handicap and the New York Derby. If it were not for the bonus, according to trainer Dick Dutrow, Ferocious Won probably would have skipped the race because the nine-furlong distance is beyond his best range.

Ferocious Won is the best horse in the race and might gut out a victory going farther than he really wants to, but he's worth playing against as the favorite. It's additionally appealing that the second favorite in the race, Run Red Run, also could be shaky at the distance. While he won at a mile and an eighth here to remain undefeated in three starts, he walked to the lead through slow fractions that day and it's likely to be a different story here when he has to tussle with a rival of Ferocious Won's quality.

Always Albert, the third choice on the line, may thrive going two turns but hasn't succeeded at it yet. So you have a situation where the first three choices in the race are all a little shaky under today's conditions, a situation that might lend itself to success for less fast and accomplished horses who at least will get the trip.

So my plan is to key the reliable closer Shuffling Madness(7) in exactas and trifectas, using Ferocious Won(3) only defensively to break even to the race while pitching Run Red Run altogether and trying to get one of two longshot closers into the number: Dreamin of Victory(1), a deep closer moving from turf to dirt, and Indian Hawke(2), an erratic sort whose best races have come from off the pace.

For each $102 invested, I would play as follows:

$4 exacta box: 7/123= $24

$2 exacta box: 123= $12

$1 trifecta partwheel: 7/123/all= $18

$1 trifecta partwheel 123/7/all= $18

$1 trifecta partwheel 123/all/7= $18

$1 trifecta partwheel:7/123/123= $ 6

$1 trifecta partwheel 123/7/123= $ 6Wednesday's featured Albany Handicap is worth $150k to six of the seven entrants but an extra $250k for favored Ferocious Won, who will earn that as a bonus if he wins the race to complete a sweep of the "Big Apple Triple" which began with the Mike Lee Handicap and the New York Derby. If it were not for the bonus, according to trainer Dick Dutrow, Ferocious Won probably would have skipped the race because the nine-furlong distance is beyond his best range.

Ferocious Won is the best horse in the race and might gut out a victory going farther than he really wants to, but he's worth playing against as the favorite. It's additionally appealing that the second favorite in the race, Run Red Run, also could be shaky at the distance. While he won at a mile and an eighth here to remain undefeated in three starts, he walked to the lead through slow fractions that day and it's likely to be a different story here when he has to tussle with a rival of Ferocious Won's quality.

Always Albert, the third choice on the line, may thrive going two turns but hasn't succeeded at it yet. So you have a situation where the first three choices in the race are all a little shaky under today's conditions, a situation that might lend itself to success for less fast and accomplished horses who at least will get the trip.

So my plan is to key the reliable closer Shuffling Madness(7) in exactas and trifectas, using Ferocious Won(3) only defensively to break even to the race while pitching Run Red Run altogether and trying to get one of two longshot closers into the number: Dreamin of Victory(1), a deep closer moving from turf to dirt, and Indian Hawke(2), an erratic sort whose best races have come from off the pace.

For each $102 invested, I would play as follows:

$4 exacta box: 7/123= $24

$2 exacta box: 123= $12

$1 trifecta partwheel: 7/123/all= $18

$1 trifecta partwheel 123/7/all= $18

$1 trifecta partwheel 123/all/7= $18

$1 trifecta partwheel:7/123/123= $ 6

$1 trifecta partwheel 123/7/123= $ 6