The New York road to the Kentucky Derby, believe it or not, takes its first step today with the Count Fleet Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth for newly turned three-year-old. So, is Haynesfield the next Smarty Jones, who won this race on the way to Louisville?

Maybe, and maybe not. Clearly, however, the 8-5 early line favorite cannot be beaten on paper no matter whose figures you look at. His Equiform figure of 76-¼ was huge while winning the state-bred Damon Runyon. Further, he showed improved energy distribution despite the way the frontrunning score looked. Connections of Asmussen and Pletcher are top notch, obviously, and how he deals with early pressure to come from Mike From Queens is the only question. We might find out today if he can rate.

Gary Contessa saddles the entry of Pitched Perfectly and Bad Action. Both seemed equipped to pull off the upset if the favorite falters. The former is coming off a new pace top on the Equiform scale (actually a double top, but never has taken a backward step, a positive mitigating factor). Mate Bad Action is experienced, also never has gone backward, and showed an affinity for distance racing in his two-turn debut last out. He’s nicely positioned with an underrated rider.

Taking Haynesfield to win, no price restrictions, a boxed exacta with the Contessa entry, extra tickets with Haynesfield on top.

Running Totals: (336) 100-70-45. Total Dollar Return: $699.30 [win selections only]