Updated on 06/12/2012 4:57PM

Belmont: Barocci has U.S. start under his belt

Tom Keyser
Forward March, the only 3-year-old in Wednesday’s third-race optional claimer, will be making his turf debut.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Though the track was blessed with good weather for Belmont Stakes week, the rain that has been fairly constant this spring at Belmont Park was due to return.

If the weather prognosticators are correct, some or all of Wednesday’s five scheduled turf races at Belmont could be in jeopardy of being moved to the main track, including a $77,000 optional claimer that goes as the third. Through the first 32 days of the 54-day meet, 45 scheduled turf races have been moved to the dirt.

Trainer Christophe Clement is hopeful that the third stays on the grass for Barocci, a Japanese-bred colt who will be making his second North American start. He and three others are in the race under the first-level allowance condition. Others are entered for a claiming price of $35,000.

In his last start in Europe, last Sept. 17, Barocci finished second in a Group 3 at Longchamp. That day, he finished a nose in front of Desert Blanc, who in his second North American start won last Saturday’s Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont.

In his first North American start, on May 13, Barocci finished second in a spot similar to this.

“He hadn’t run in eight months. Maybe he needed the race,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “I would expect him to move forward. It’s never easy, it’s New York, but I like the horse.”

Forward March, the only 3-year-old in the race, is a son of Distorted Humor and a grandson of the mare Miesque, a two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and twice voted the Eclipse Award as champion female turf horse. Forward March, 1 for 4 on dirt, has yet to try to turf.

Most Happy Fella and Photo were entered in the event the race is switched to the main track.

Most Happy Fella, a six-time winner who is in for the $35,000 optional claiming price, won a $30,000 claimer two back in the slop at Belmont. In his next start, he stumbled badly at the break and finished last of seven, beaten 27 1/4 lengths.

Trainer Pat Quick said Most Happy Fella suffered a minor injury, known as a grabbed quarter, in that race, but he is doing well now.

Photon, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., was third in an off-the-turf race under similar conditions as this.

Later on the card, Midnite Silver heads an 11-horse field set to contest six furlongs over the inner turf course. Midnite Silver, trained by David Jacobson, is 5 for 11 over the Belmont turf. He is also 2 for 2 on off tracks in the even the race is run on dirt.

Also if on dirt, W.W.’s Lady Man will draw into the field and is coming off a 2 1/2-length victory in an overnight stakes here that was taken off the turf on May 16.

Correction: A previous version of this article named the wrong horse as Forward March's sire. He is by Distorted Humor, not Dynaformer.