The last time Volponi wore blinkers, the son of Cryptoclearance stunned the racing world.
A 43-1 longshot last Oct. 26 at Arlington Park, Volponi, who is owned by Amherst Stable and Spruce Pond Stable and trained by Phil Johnson, not only won the Breeders' Cup Classic, he demolished the field. At the end of the race, he had 6 1/2 lengths on Medaglia d'Oro and ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01 1/5.
Without the blinkers in his first two races of 2003, Volponi has been second twice. He was 2-5 when he missed by a neck to Speightstown in a seven-furlong allowance at Belmont Park on May 9, then finished 2 1/2 lengths behind wire-to-wire winner Iron Deputy in the Brooklyn Handicap over a sloppy track on June 14.
If Volponi is going to win for the eighth time and go over $3 million in earnings, he's going to have to beat Mineshaft and seven others in the $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.
A Grade I at 1 1/4 miles, the Suburban also lured Judge's Case, Hero's Tribute, Evening Attire, Harlan's Holiday, Puzzlement, Nothing Flat and Dollar Bill, who will be making his first start for trainer Bobby Frankel.
Mineshaft is the favorite. The 4-year-old son of A.P. Indy has won six of eight since moving to the main track after he came to the U.S. last year. This will be his first try at 10 furlongs in this country.
Race of the day: Sky Jack, the winner of last year's Hollywood Gold Cup, and General Challenge, who won the 2000 Santa Anita Handicap, are among eight scheduled to run in today's sixth at Hollywood Park. The $62,000 allowance is at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
One for the road: Green Fee returns to his favorite turf course (Belmont Park) and can rebound after some poor recent efforts in today's $100,000 Poker Handicap at one mile. The 7-year-old Green Dancer horse has won six of 12 on the Belmont grass. In his last appearance there, he won the Kelso Handicap at 9-1 last Oct. 5.
Exotically speaking: Single Legendary Weave in the sixth, use Polygreen, Southern Oasis and Belleski in the seventh and Bluesthestandard, Joey Franco, Cayoke and Avanzado in the eighth.
Winners: Previous day/meet total: 0/140. Money: Previous day/meet total: $0/$747. Total money bet: $912.