10/01/2008 12:00AM

Albertrani sending pair to the Frizette


ELMONT, N.Y. - In a span of 96 minutes on Sept. 14, trainer Tom Albertrani won a pair of juvenile filly maiden races at Belmont Park. Visually, it was hard to separate how good Royal Ballade and Gemswick Park looked. Time-wise and speed-figure wise, there appears to be a world of difference between the two.

At 1:32 p.m., Royal Ballade, a regally-bred daughter of Elusive Quality, won by 6 3/4 lengths under a hand ride from Javier Castellano. She ran six furlongs in 1:11.13 and earned a modest Beyer Speed Figure of 65. At 3:08 p.m., Gemswick Park, a daughter of Speightstown, won an off-the-turf maiden race by 6 1/2 lengths under a more vigorous hand ride from John Velazquez. She ran six furlongs in 1:09.43 and earned a 91 Beyer.

Albertrani doesn't believe there is that much of a disparity between the two fillies. He'll find out Saturday when he runs the two against each other in the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette at Belmont Park. The Frizette, run at one mile, is part of the Breeders' Cup Win and You're In program, meaning the winner gets an automatic berth into the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.

Albertrani wondered if the difference in times between his two fillies was a product of the track changing as the day went along. Mark Hopkins, who makes the Beyer figures for Belmont, said the track stayed consistent the entire day.

Royal Ballade, whose family includes the top 3-year-old filly Music Note, opened up a 2 1/2-length lead after an opening quarter in 22.32 seconds and continued on with her ears up and with Castellano simply waving his whip at her through the stretch. That she did her best running at the end of the race has Albertrani excited that the mile of the Frizette will be to her liking.

"When she passed the wire, she galloped out all the way around to the mile pole, it looked like she started finding her best stride late," Albertrani said. "She's bred to go longer. I ran her short that day because we were kind of getting late in the season and always had the Frizette in mind during the summer before she started the first time because she was always very impressive training."

Gemswick Park finished second in her debut at Saratoga to Selva, who came back to win a stakes race at Monmouth Park. In her second start, Gemswick Park showed good early speed, running fractions of 22.00 seconds and 44.89 before winning under a vigorous hand ride.

"I was quite pleased with that race," Albertrani said. "She showed a lot of speed that day. The only question with her is how far a distance is she going to get?"

A field of 10 is expected for the Frizette, including including Bon Jovi Girl, Coffee in Bed, Collegiate, Heavenly Vision, Miss Ocean City, Persistently, Sky Diva, and Winning Brew.

Virginia Derby rematch in Jamaica

Gio Ponti and Court Vision staged a thrilling stretch drive in the $750,000 Virginia Derby 2 1/2 months ago, with Gio Ponti edging his rival by a nose.

Though the pot is only $250,000 Saturday, that duo is expected to get it on again in the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap here at 1 1/8 miles.

Following the Virginia Derby, Gio Ponti and Court Vision went their separate ways, with Gio Ponti going to the Del Mar Derby where he finished second, beaten a half-length to Madeo. Court Vision, meanwhile, returned to dirt in the Grade 1 Travers where he finished sixth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths by Colonel John.

Trainer Christophe Clement felt the tighter turns of Del Mar compromised Gio Ponti and he is hoping the return to Belmont will be beneficial. Gio Ponti is 2 for 2 at Belmont, including a two-length victory in the Grade 3 Hill Prince here on June 6.

With Garrett Gomez scheduled to ride at Keeneland on Saturday, Alan Garcia will ride Gio Ponti.

Meanwhile, Sailor's Cap, who finished third in the Virginia Derby after winning the Colonial Turf Cup, will be forced to miss the Jamaica after showing signs of a lung infection. An endoscopic examination following his most breeze was "a little dirty," said trainer Jimmy Toner, who then had to put the horse on antibiotics.

Others pointing to the Jamaica are Thou Swell and Wesley. Deal Making and Roman Tiger are possible.

Harlem Rocker points to Jerome

Harlem Rocker will return to doing what he's done best in his brief career when he runs in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome Handicap here.

Harlem Rocker has won 4 of 6 starts, including the Grade 3 Withers at one mile at Aqueduct in April. Since then, he's run three times around two turns, sandwiching a win in the Prince of Wales Stakes between fourth-place finishes in the Queen's Plate Trial and the Travers. In the Travers, Pletcher felt Eibar Coa had to make a wide and premature move, which cost him at the end.

"I think a mile and a quarter is probably just at his limit anyways," Pletcher said. "Considering the trip he got, I thought he ran a good race, just tough circumstances."

Visionaire, the King's Bishop winner, is expected to be the starting highweight in the Jerome. Tale of Ekati, the Wood Memorial winner, is next at 119 pounds. Harlem Rocker is in with 118 pounds. Cool Coal Man (117), Power Game (116), and You and I Forever (115) are also expected to run.

Bribon returns in allowance feature

Quick, without looking at page 2 of this publication, which horse not named Commentator has recorded the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the country this year? You get partial credit if you said Monterey Jazz. You get full credit if you knew it was Bribon.

Bribon, who earned a 118 Beyer winning a third-level allowance race here June 25, makes his first start since that race in a money allowance that serves as Friday's feature race.

Bribon's 118 equals the figure Monterey Jazz earned winning the Grade 3 Texas Mile in April. Both are just short of Commentator's figures of 120 and 119 earned in stakes this year.

Since that June race, trainer Robert Ribaudo has tried to design a campaign that would get Bribon to the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in late November. Ribaudo said the horse has a history of hind end issues, and he wants to space the horse's races out. However, by running him six furlongs here, Ribaudo said he may need to find another race before the Cigar Mile.

This race features four horses that were entered in the $60,000 Eillo Stakes race Friday night at The Meadowlands, including Vicarino, Gold and Roses, Japengo, and Silver Stetson Man.