Updated on 09/16/2011 8:43AM

Ubiquity a fresh face

Bill Strauss
Balto Star has had success on turf and dirt for trainer Todd Pletcher.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - It has been 363 days since Ubiquity pulled off his stunning upset in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. It has been even longer since Balto Star won a race on dirt.

Yet, these two horses will be the central figures in a $58,000 allowance race Thursday, which serves as Aqueduct's feature. The nine-furlong race, which could yield a starter or two for next month's $100,000 Queens County Handicap, drew a field of seven.

Ubiquity, a 5-year-old son of Colonial Affair, has only run twice since winning the Clark at 19-1. He finished 13th in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap - a race in which he suffered heat stroke - and was a distant third in the National Jockey Club Handicap at Sportsman's Park in April.

"He came out of that race with a little bit of wear and tear so we decided to give him a summer vacation,' trainer James Bond said. "We wanted to have a fresh horse for the cooler weather.'

Bond was hoping to run Ubiquity in a one-mile race, but couldn't find one.

"We got a good mile work in him last week,' said Bond, referring to a workout timed in 1:41.20. "He looks like he wants to be led over there [to run].'

Ubiquity likes to run close to the pace, but he is unlikely to see the early lead in this spot.

Saint Verre, who scored a front-running victory in the off-the-turf Cliffhanger Handicap at The Meadowlands, and Balto Star, a front-running graded stakes winner, are likely to vie for the early lead.

Saint Verre regressed from his Cliff Hanger victory when he finished a well-beaten seventh in the Sport Page Handicap on Oct. 26. In typical Allen Jerkens fashion, Saint Verre worked six furlongs in 1:17.49 on Tuesday over Belmont's training track.

Balto Star has had success on turf and dirt for trainer Todd Pletcher. Surprisingly, his last dirt win came in the 2001 Arkansas Derby. His two wins since have come in turf allowance heats. Last time out, Balto Star finished second to Hero's Tribute in the Black Tie Affair Handicap on dirt at Arlington Park on the Breeders' Cup undercard.

"It was a good race for him. He just got outrun,' Pletcher said. "We kicked around the idea of waiting for the Queens County, but this race came up with a decent purse and it's 1 1/8 miles rather than 1 3/16 miles.'

Runspastum is an upset candidate. He was steadied entering the first turn when finishing fifth in the Stuyvesant Handicap. Griffinite, Judge's Case, and Country Be Gold complete the field.

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