09/10/2010 2:24PM

Two stalkers should like pace setup in Cole

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Stephanie Van Minos/Tom Cooley
Pocket Cowboys, who has become more dangerous since learning to rate, could get an ideal stalking trip in Sunday's Ashley Cole Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. − With Banrock recovering from an illness and Straight Story poised to try the Woodbine Mile, Sunday’s $100,000 Ashley T. Cole Stakes at Belmont Park came up a winnable spot for seven New York-breds seeking stakes glory.

Based on their recent form and the likelihood of a contested pace, Pocket Cowboys and Gimme Credit loom the top two contenders in Sunday’s Cole for statebreds going 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf course.

Pocket Cowboys, owned and trained by Scott Schwartz, displayed a new dimension when he stalked the pace and finished second, beaten one length, to favorite Straight Story in last month’s West Point Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga. In his previous turf efforts, Pocket Cowboys raced on the lead.

Sunday, Pocket Cowboys is likely to get another stalking trip behind Writingonthewall and Spa City Fever. Edgar Prado rides Pocket Cowboys from post 5.

“He doesn’t have to be on the lead, and with Writingonthewall and [Spa City Fever] in there he should have something to run at,” Schwartz said. “There are no standouts in there, but he looks to be as good as any horse in there.”

In his last three tries in New York-bred stakes company, Gimme Credit has been beaten a combined 4 3/4 lengths. That includes a fourth with traffic trouble in the Kingston at Belmont in May, his first start since being claimed by Chad Brown for $50,000. Since then, Gimme Credit won an optional claimer at Monmouth in June before finishing third in a similar spot Aug. 7.

“He’s run three really good races for us,” Brown said. “At Monmouth, the turf can favor speed, and he got a little far back around the turn and then ran out of ground. I thought he was coming with a good run.”

Gimme Credit is winless in seven tries at 1 1/8 miles.

Writingonthewall scored three wins in 23 days over the speed-favoring turf at Saratoga and is 4 for 7 this year. He loses jockey Edgar Prado, who is on Pocket Cowboys. Jose Lezcano rides Writingonthewall.“He’s always been a good horse,” said Carlos Martin, who trains the gelding for Flying Zee Stables. “He’s overcome a serious injury. Hopefully, he can keep winning. I think a week back is another task, but there’s no Banrock, no Straight Story, no Minnie Punt. I think it’s worth trying even if we have to give him the rest of the year off.”Haynesfield would be a standout in the unlikely event the race is switched to the dirt.