08/13/2007 11:00PM

Special juveniles

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LAS VEGAS - Like the Sanford Stakes that precedes it, Thursday's Saratoga Special is considered a prep for the meet's big race for juvenile colts - the Hopeful Stakes. But this year's renewal of the Special has a much deeper field than the Sanford, which featured a runaway victory by Ready's Image.

Here's a look at this year's players in post position order:

Kodiak Kowboy: Fourth, beaten just three-quarters of a length by the winner in his debut, he has reeled off three straight wins, the last two in stakes - the Victoria at Woodbine and the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs. He is from the exciting first crop of Posse, the leading freshman sire this season with 13 winners from 25 starters, and five are stakes winners. By speed influence Silver Deputy and out of a mare by miler influence Rahy, Posse was best from five to seven furlongs and won five stakes at 2 and 3. Kodiak Kowboy's dam, Kokadrie, is a half-sister to stakes winner and sire West by West. With Posse on top and damsire Coronado's Quest on the bottom, Kodiak Kowboy may have distance limitations but he has a major-league juvenile pedigree.

Betatron: He won his only start, a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Churchill on June 30, but Betatron is a very nice prospect for Dallas Stewart. By speed influence Tale of the Cat, he is out of a Seeking the Gold mare from a female family of exceptional quality. Betatron's dam, Adversity, is out of Dispute, a four-time Gradeo1 stakes winner (Kentucky Oaks, Beldame, and Spinster stakes and Gazelle Handicap). Dispute is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Adjudicating and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Time for a Change. Adversity has the Rasmussen Factor (inbreeding to a superior female within five generations through different individuals) as she is inbred 3x4 to Broadway, through her daughter Con Game (dam of Seeking the Gold) and her multiple stakes-winning son Reviewer (sire of champions Ruffian and Revidere). Broadway, a stakes winner at 2, was also the dam of Reviewer's full sister, 1967 2-year-old filly champion Queen of the Stage.

Sargent Seattle: A 6 1/2-length winner in his maiden debut on Saratoga's opening day, this colt is among the many impressive runners from the first crop of undefeated 2-year-old champion Vindication. His first three dams are all stakes winners, and his third dam is a half-sister to Bed o' Roses Handicap winner Fearless Queen, the dam of stakes winner Box Office Gold.

Make the Point: Like Betatron, Sargent Seattle, and Riley Tucker, he won his only start, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Belmont on June 13, by 4 3/4 lengths going wire to wire. By Menifee, he is out of the Capote mare New Dice, a half-sister to stakes winners Accelerator and Daydreaming and the unraced She's a Winner, the dam of stakes winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat.

Riley Tucker: Yet another impressive winner of his only start, a six-length victory at 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont on July 20, Riley Tucker is by Harlan's Holiday. Another well-regarded freshman sire, Harlan's Holiday won more than $3omillion, which included victories in eight stakes. Riley Tucker has the Rasmussen Factor as he is exquisitely inbred 5x4 to the influential Alanesian through her multiple stakes-winning daughter Princessnesian and son Boldnesian. Boldnesian had a brief but successful career, winning 4 of 5 starts, including the Santa Anita Derby, and his most important offspring were Bold Ruckus, Bold Bikini (dam of Law Society), College Bold (dam of Nasty and Bold), Minstinguette (dam of multiple European champion sprinter/miler Committed and the second dam of English Channel), Miss Tusculum (dam of Breeders' Cup Turf winner Miss Alleged), and Bold Reasoning, the sire of Seattle Slew.

Little Nick: He lost all chance in his third start, the Sanford, after being bumped at the break and stumbling. He was second to Ready's Image in his maiden debut at Keeneland and then won a maiden race in his second start. Little Nick is by Tiger Ridge, a three-quarter brother to Summer Squall and half-brother to A.P. Indy.

The Roundhouse: A half-brother to last year's Hopeful winner Circular Quay, it appears he has inherited his sibling's come-from-behind running style. By Fusaichi Pegasus, he is out of Spinaway Stakes winner Circle of Life. He won his maiden debut at Monmouth and then finished third in the Sanford after being bumped. This is a colt who should continue to improve with maturity and distance.

Selections: Riley Tucker, Sargent Seattle, The Roundhouse, and Make the Point.