09/11/2009 10:10AM

Rainy Return to Belmont



It's a wet and windy opening day for the 33-day Belmont fall meeting, with today's four scheduled grass races (5,7,8,9) already rained on to the main track and no relief in sight: The forecast is nothing but rain through Saturday night.

Earlier this week, the G2 Bowling Green was moved from today to Sunday in anticipation of last night's heavy rain. First there's tomorrow's G1 Garden City for 3-year-old turf fillies, which could end up being the only race left on the grass. At least the two favorites have handled wet courses before: Gozzip Gal, the division leader and G1 American Oaks winner, won the G2 Sands Point at Belmont May 30, leading through a squishy 1:15.78 en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in 1:51.24 for 94. Maram, last year's BC Juvenile Fillies Turf winner and still unbeaten in four starts, won the G3 Miss Grillo on a yielding course last Oct. 1 in 1:46.12 for 8.5f.

Saturday's co-feature is the G1 Ruffian Handicap for older dirt fillies, which has been buried early on the card as the 4th race, presumably because Seventh Street will be odds-on a field with just five betting interests and no tri or super.


My only possible live viewing of the opening-day card will hinge on the willingness of JFK airport bartenders to tune in the OTB channel as I wait through a likely rain delay of my light to Toronto. I'm headed for the Great White North for (free) seminars at Woodbine at 11 a.m. Saturday and at the Greenwood OTB at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

My flight is scheduled to leave at 2:40 pm; I make the over/under 4:30.