10/12/2005 11:00PM

Bad weather good news for Bohemian Lady

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Horsephotos
Bohemian Lady (center) would become the favorite if the Athenia Handicap is moved to the main track.

ELMONT, N.Y. - It was supposed to finally stop raining some time Friday, but after several days of heavy showers, Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Handicap at Belmont Park is likely to be transferred from the turf to the dirt.

If so, the 1 1/16-mile race figures to boil down to the three main-track-only entrants - Bohemian Lady, Zosima, and My Lordship.

is the most likely favorite and winner based on her past success over a wet surface. Last year, as a 3-year-old, Bohemian Lady won the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths over an Aqueduct track labeled good. Prior to that, Bohemian Lady finished second in a Gulfstream Park allowance race, in which she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Being by Carson City, Bohemian Lady is certainly bred to handle a sloppy track, though she has not raced on one. Bohemian Lady is 0 for 3 at Belmont, but two of those losses came in Grade 1 events last year. Earlier this year, Bohemian Lady finished a good third behind Society Selection and Daydreaming in the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap.

"I think you can make a case the Shuvee was one of her best races, if not her best,'' trainer Todd Pletcher said.

After a freshening, Bohemian Lady won a nine-furlong allowance race at Saratoga before finishing sixth as the favorite in the Turfway Park Breeders' Cup Handicap. Pletcher said Bohemian Lady was "climbing really badly'' when the kickback from Turfway's new Polytrack hit her in the face.

Godolphin Racing entered Zosima in a third-level allowance race Wednesday that was canceled along with the rest of that day's card. While that race probably will be brought back for Sunday, Zosima is likely to run in the Athenia.

At 2, won the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, a one-turn mile race. She finished fifth behind Halbridled in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, but had a rough trip from post 11.

Zosima has run only once this year, finishing fourth in a six-furlong allowance race. Assistant trainer Richard Mettee, who handles Godolphin's New York operation, expects a better effort this time.

"She was short when I ran her,'' Mettee said. "She's a much better filly than the filly I brought over in the summer. She's spot on for this.''

Trainer Bill Mott entered My Lordship hoping for a dry main track. finished third behind Ashado in last year's Cotillion Handicap.

If the Athenia remains on turf, European shipper Miss Mambo is the one to beat.