OZONE PARK, N.Y. -- On the last Saturday of November at Aqueduct, Homeboykris and Buddy's Saint hope to fuel their connections' dreams of being able to compete on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.
Homeboykris, who came off a three-month layoff to win the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont in October, and Buddy's Saint, a 12-length winner of the Grade 2 Nashua here three weeks ago, head a six-horse field entered in the Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes. Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Remsen will be the first try around two turns for both juveniles.
Homeboykris, a Maryland-bred son of Roman Ruler, was purchased privately by a group headed by restaurateur Louis Lazzinnaro following a maiden win at Calder in July. In his first start for his new connections - including trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. -- Homeboykris rallied to win the Champagne by 1 1/2 lengths under Edgar Prado despite appearing to be spinning his wheels around the turn.
"He wasn't really running the turns, but once he switched leads he caught another gear," said Prado, who will be back aboard on Saturday. "I liked it. We'll see how he handles two turns now, but he's training good."
With Dutrow serving a suspension, Homeboykris will be saddled by Juan Rodriguez. Homeboykris will break from post 5.
Buddy's Saint finished first in his career debut at Belmont going 6 1/2 furlongs, but was disqualified and placed second for lugging in and brushing with Global Quest in the stretch. Undeterred, trainer Bruce Levine stuck with his plan of running in the Nashua, and the colt rolled to an authoritative score under Jose Lezcano on Nov. 7. He ran a one-turn mile in 1:35.67 and his Beyer Speed Figure of 101 is the second highest recorded by a 2-year-old male this year.
"If I had more time it'd be great, but that's not the way it is," said Levine, who trains Buddy's Saint, a son of Saint Liam, for Eli Lomita's Kingfield Stables. "But I want to run in this race because it's a mile and an eighth. It'll put a little more seasoning into him, it'll give him his two-turn race."
Citrus Kid is the one horse in the field with two-turn experience, having won a maiden race and the Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. He was purchased privately by a group headed by Gary Tolchin following the Dover and turned over to trainer John Terranova, who believes the horse wants every bit of the nine furlongs the Remsen affords.