11/09/2006 12:00AM

Time is right for Mister Fotis


NEW YORK - No time for a Breeders' Cup hangover for the Weekend Warrior, as there are some good betting races to be found in Saturday's stakes offerings.

Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap

Every horseplayer has at least a couple of horses who, because they have been good to them financially, have become their personal pets. Mister Fotis is one such horse for me. But sentiment is not the reason why Mister Fotis is a good bet in this spot.

First, it certainly seems that Mister Fotis is a fall/winter-type horse. There was strong evidence of this last year when he came to life around this time after a summer slump, and this apparently was not lost on trainer Marty Wolfson, of Miesque's Approval fame. Wolfson gave Mister Fotis most of the summer off, bringing him back last month in the Spend a Buck Handicap. Mister Fotis showed speed before weakening in the two-turn Spend a Buck, but that was an ideal prep, especially since Mister Fotis now cuts back to a preferred sprint distance.

When Mister Fotis started to get hot at this time last year, he went on to victories in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, and the Grade 2 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap. Either one of those performances would be good enough to win this race, especially the Noe, as that day Mister Fotis earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 113, the best in this field.

If there is one cause for reservation about Mister Fotis, it is that he might be most effective at a distance slightly longer than the six furlongs he gets Saturday. That said, his last three attempts at six furlongs were all good. Mister Fotis finished like a wild horse when he was second in this race last year, he was too far back early and forced wide when a closing sixth in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, and was beaten only 4 1/2 lengths when he ran fifth in the Smile Sprint Handicap.

Commonwealth Turf Stakes

Here's hoping a lot of bettors jump on the fact that the Beyer Figure of 109 that Brilliant earned in his romp in the Kent Breeders' Cup two starts back is tied for the fifth-highest Beyer on turf at any distance in North America this year. If they do, it will help boost the price on Outperformance, who I believe is the better horse.

Outperformance was sharp in his last two starts after returning from a summer freshening. He crushed a good allowance field at Belmont Park in his first start back, and followed with an equally good effort to finish second in the Jamaica Breeders' Cup Handicap. Although Outperformance was outkicked by Showing Up in the Jamaica, Showing Up, the best 3-year-old turf male in the nation, was especially good that day, and Outperformance was easily second best. It also helps that, barring any key program scratches, Outperformance should get a pace honest enough to set up his late run.

Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap

Too Many Toyz might not be as accomplished as most of this field, but he has two things going for him that his opponents Saturday don't: Too Many Toyz is on a win streak, and he is the controlling speed in a field lacking true front-running types.

Too Many Toyz has become a different horse since joining the barn of high-percentage trainer Bill White. He beat entry-level allowance horses by the length of the stretch two starts back, earning what at that point was a career-best Beyer of 94. In winning last time out, Too Many Toyz bettered that by 10 full points, spread-eagling a tougher field. And that effort was probably legitimate, since the runner up came back to win his next start.