10/16/2008 12:00AM

Transduction Gold offers company line

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Determining the class of a horse can be a tough task for handicappers, but it's not as challenging as usual in Saturday's Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland Saturday.

The company lines of the 11 entrants show which horse has faced the strongest opposition, and that horse is Transduction Gold.

In his last two starts, Transduction Gold finished second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap to Spring House, and then returned Sept. 27 to be third behind Red Giant and Out of Control in the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch at Santa Anita.

Spring House, Red Giant, and Out of Control happen to be three of the 12 horses that were announced Thursday as being pre-entered for the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf.

Transduction Gold gave Spring House a battle in the Del Mar Handicap, losing by 1 1/2 lengths, and although no threat to Red Giant and Out of Control in the Clement Hirsch, when beaten six lengths, that race was run in blazing fast time, with Red Giant earning a 112 Beyer Speed Figure for setting a world record for 1 1/4 miles on turf in 1:57.16.

In addition to racing in such a fast race, Transduction Gold showed heart to gamely repel the rally of Spring House to hold third, something that might have gone unnoticed by those merely watching the battle for the top spot between Red Giant and Out of Control.

The defending champion in the Sycamore, Transduction Gold doesn't face near the same competition Saturday at Keeneland as he did this summer and fall in California. Most of his opposition includes horses that raced in the last month's Kentucky Cup Turf, a race that was weak by Grade 3 standards.

Among those exiting that race include its winner, Rumor Has It, and fourth-place Silverfoot, a graded stakes winner of over $905,000, who is the narrow morning-line favorite in the Sycamore at 3-1 odds.

At 7-2 on the morning line, Transduction Gold sits at a very fair price as the class of the race.

Whatta Like bred for distance

Arguably the best wagering race of the weekend is the Florida Stallion My Dear Girl Stakes at Calder, which has 14 horses in the body of the race, plus two also-eligibles. Not surprisingly given the size of the field, contention runs deep.

With many in the field untested around two turns, the race provides a wagering opportunity for horseplayers that know the tendencies of the offspring of Florida stallions. The fillies in the race by Colony Light, Repent, and Full Mandate are most likely to handle the 1 1/16-mile distance of the dirt race, based on the average winning distances of their progeny.

Of the entrants by those sires, my selection is Whatta Like, a daughter of Colony Light stretching out in distance after winning a six-furlong maiden race from off the pace Sept. 11. Seemingly beaten at the top of the stretch that day, trailing two leaders by 3 1/2 lengths, she closed powerfully through the stretch to win drawing away, posting the top last-race Beyer in the field, a 75.

Working in her favor is a beneficial post. Drawn in post 2, she should be able to secure a midpack racing position and have the opportunity to save ground.

Statistic singles out Sure Fire Runner

Daily Racing Form's Formulator statistics point to potentially rewarding play in the male division of the Louisiana Stallion Stakes at Louisiana Downs Saturday.

Among the 10 horses entered, which goes as the third on the card, is Sure Fire Runner, a first-out maiden winner for Pat Mouton, a trainer known for having his horses improve second time out.

But what many bettors may not realize - except those using Formulator - is that Mouton has an eye-catching record with 2-year-old maiden winners leaping into stakes for their second start. Of the four such horses he started over the past five years, three won and one ran second.

Three of the four improved 20 Beyer points or more upon their debuts, and the other went forward four Beyer points.

In watching Sure Fire Runner's debut, he looks ready to improve. He raced greenly, breaking slowly and failing to switch leads in the stretch, when coming from just off the pace to win.

He is an intriguing play as the probable second choice behind likely favorite Foreign Production.