Revived Mass Cap draws eight
The post draw for Saturday's $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs didn't hurt Fairbanks, who trainer Todd Pletcher hopes can join stablemates Lawyer Ron and Any Given Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Classic next month.
Eight runners entered the 1 1/8-mile Massachusetts Handicap for its first running since 2004, with the speedy Fairbanks in the middle from post 4 and Grade 1 winners Evening Attire and Brass Hat drawn in the outside two posts.
Fairbanks and jockey Richard Migliore are the 7-5 morning-line favorites to win their second stakes this year, following their victory in the Tokyo City Handicap at Santa Anita in March. The Mass Cap will be Fairbanks's first start since setting the pace ahead of division leader Lawyer Ron in the Woodward at Saratoga before fading to fourth.
"We're considering him for the Breeders' Cup Classic," said Pletcher. "He's on the verge of competing with the horses at that level, and the timing five weeks out is good spacing if we decide to run him there."
Brass Hat, second choice at 5-2 with regular rider Willie Martinez, is in a familiar spot from post 8. He has broken from the outside in three of his four starts this season and in two of his biggest victories, including the 2006 Donn Handicap.
"It's fine," said trainer Buff Bradley. "He started outside at Churchill and set a track record, and was outside in the Donn and won that."
Dr. Pleasure, 4, drew the rail. Trained by John Ward and owned by John Oxley, Dr. Pleasure will make his second start of the year and first stakes attempt since finishing a well-beaten third in the 2006 Travers. He was off 12 months recovering from micro-fractures in his hind ankles, Ward said.
"We don't have any Breeders' Cup aspirations this year," said Ward. "We've been in no rush, and this race gets us into the handicap division and gets us pointed to our goal of competing at 5."
The full draw, from the rail with riders: Dr. Pleasure, Cornelio Velasquez; Palladio, Richard Dos Ramos; Who What Win, Shaun Bridgmohan; Fairbanks; Shuffling Maddnes, Raul Rojas; Fire Striker, Kevin Krigger; Evening Attire, Jose Espinoza; and Brass Hat.