10/19/2007 12:00AM

BC hopefuls seek consolation prize

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - In a perfect world, Moral Compass and Why Tonto would be working over Belmont Park's turf course Sunday morning in preparation for a start in next Friday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Park.

But in the real world, Moral Compass and Why Tonto are five and seven deep, respectively, on the alternates list for the Juvenile Turf, which is why both are entered to run in Sunday afternoon's $75,000 King Cugat Stakes at Belmont. Thirteen were entered for the one-mile King Cugat, including Cannonball, who is on the also-eligible list for this race as well as ninth on the alternates list for the Juvenile Turf. Twelve horses will be permitted to run in the King Cugat.

Moral Compass, a son of Grand Slam, has run two very good races on the turf after finishing fifth in his debut on dirt for trainer Barclay Tagg. On opening day of this meet, Moral Compass finished second behind Gio Ponti in a seven-furlong turf race. Gio Ponti came back to win the $150,000 Bourbon at Keeneland and will be one of the choices for the Juvenile Turf.

In his next start, Moral Compass led gate to wire to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden turf race by 1 1/4 lengths. He has since come back with a four-furlong workout in 47.60 seconds that was the best of 15 on Oct. 16.

Tagg said he will consult with owner Alan Quartucci on Sunday morning to determine if they have any chance of drawing into the Juvenile Turf.

"I'll do whatever Alan wants to do," said Tagg, who also entered Rebounded in the King Cugat. "The horse is ready to go. He's a nice horse. He's got some talent."

Why Tonto was placed seven deep on the Juvenile Turf alternates list despite winning both of his turf starts, including the World Appeal Stakes at the Meadowlands.

"He actually got on track very late in the World Appeal, put in a big run the last sixteenth of a mile," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Kimmel duo tough in Swinging Mood

Trainer John Kimmel sends out a strong uncoupled entry of Cato Major and Remarkable Remy in Sunday's $75,000 Swinging Mood Stakes for juvenile fillies at one mile on the turf.

Cato Major, a daughter of E Dubai, won her debut at Saratoga at 18-1 before finishing a rallying second behind Zee Zee in the $250,000 Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 22.

Remarkable Remy, a daughter of Hennessy, finished third to Namaste's Wish in the Miss Grillo here on Sept. 29.

Other contenders in the Swinging Mood include Lucky Copy and Return to Paradise, both sent out by Pletcher, and Sherine, the beaten favorite in the Miss Grillo.

End of an era

Sunday is not just closing day of the Belmont fall meet, it marks the end of an era.

While racing will return to Belmont next spring, the binocular stand located on the second floor of the clubhouse - a family-run operation that began renting binoculars as far back as 1895 - will close up shop.

Tom Guy, who runs the stand that his great-grandfather Rozier Dulaney Johnston started in New York in the 19th century, said the economics of the game forced him to close. The family rented binoculars to fans at Aqueduct and Saratoga as well.

"No. 1, people don't need binoculars anymore, and the fact that people don't need to come to the track," Guy said when explaining the decision to close down. "It's gotten to the point where if I rent a dozen that's a good day."

Guy said his grandfather Rozier Cohen Johnston and his mother, Pat Guy, followed his great-grandfather in the business. Pat Guy died in 1999. Tom Guy said he feels bad about being the one to pull the plug on the operation.

"Because of the family history, I feel kind of like I'm bailing out, the rat deserting the sinking ship," Guy said.

Guy said he fancies himself an air-brush artist and would like to ply that trade with custom cars.

The New York Racing Association will continue to rent binoculars at the customer service stations of the three NYRA tracks.

Glasser out four to six weeks

Jockey Todd Glasser suffered an injury to his right shoulder in a spill at Belmont Park on Thursday and will be out of action from four to six weeks, he said Friday from his Philadelphia-area home.

Glasser, 37, was aboard Titanium Menace, who clipped heels with Straight Romance in Thursday's second race. Glasser was unseated, and somersaulted several times on the turf. Though he got up and walked into an ambulance under his own power, he suffered strained ligaments to his right shoulder, and his right arm is completely immobilized, he said Friday.

Glasser was unhappy with Kent Desormeaux's ride aboard Giveityourbestshot. Glasser said he thought Desormeaux needlessly tightened things up on him and potentially caused him to clip heels. The stewards did put up the inquiry sign following the race, but saw no reason to take any action against Desormeaux.

"I just thought he could've given me a better shot," Glasser said.

Titanium Menace was uninjured, according to his trainer, Martin Ciresa.

Desormeaux headed to Kentucky

Speaking of Desormeaux, the Hall of Fame rider will spend most of the remainder of the fall riding at Churchill Downs, said his agent, Mike Sellitto.

Desormeaux will ride at Belmont on Sunday, at Monmouth Park for the four cards that track will host this week, including the Breeders' Cup, and at Aqueduct next Sunday.

Desormeaux will start riding at Churchill on Oct. 31. Sellitto said the likelihood of more turf racing in Kentucky, as well as commitments from trainers Bill Mott, Ken McPeek, and others, prompted the move to Churchill.

Pussycat Doll wins her finale in the slop

A drop in class, a wet track, and a reunion with her favorite jockey, Garrett Gomez, proved to be a winning combination on Friday for Pussycat Doll, who splashed to victory on a sealed, sloppy racetrack to capture the $75,750 Storm Flag Flying, an overnight stakes at Belmont Park.

Pussycat Doll ($4.70) wore down pacesetter Great Intentions and prevailed by one length in 1:24.01 for seven furlongs. Swap Fliparoo was five lengths farther back in third in the field of five.

Pussycat Doll had raced exclusively in graded stakes races for nearly two years, and had won a pair of Grade 1 races with Gomez in May 2006 and January 2007. But she had lost five straight races, including several in which she was never a factor.

On a day when a driving rainstorm made the track look like Ovaltine, and forced several races off the grass, Pussycat Doll took a step forward.

Bob Baffert, her trainer, said Pussycat Doll would be retired after this race and sold next month as a broodmare prospect.

Pussycat Doll, a daughter of Real Quiet, won 7 times in 17 starts for Mike Pegram, her owner and breeder.

According to Plan near return for Tagg

According to Plan, who showed great promise last summer before being injured at Saratoga, worked a strong six furlongs on Friday morning at Belmont Park in 1:14.04, after which trainer Barclay Tagg said she would return to action Oct. 28 in the Grade 3, $100,000 Tempted Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.

According to Plan cruised home four lengths best in her debut at Belmont Park going five furlongs on June 29. Off that race, she was sent off as the favorite in the Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga on July 25. But she broke awkwardly and finished fourth, then needed time off.

"She got hurt coming out of the gate," Tagg said Friday morning at his Belmont Park barn. "She hurt her neck, and it took awhile for her to get over that, but she's training forwardly now."

* Juan Diaz, a perennial leading rider in Puerto Rico, won aboard his first mount in the U.S. on Friday, guiding Fighter Ace to a 10-length victory in Friday's second race. Diaz, 29, was to ride Building New Era in Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic for owner Juan Valdes before returning to Puerto Rico on Sunday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman