06/05/2013 2:50PM

Belmont: Don't underestimate Fast Falcon in Brooklyn

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Barbara D. Livingston
Fast Falcon may be a far better horse than his 1-for-13 record indicates.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With a bankroll of more than $250,000, it’s hard to believe that Fast Falcon remains eligible for a first-level allowance race.

On more than one occasion, Fast Falcon has proven to be graded stakes material, and he seeks to finally record such a victory when he runs in Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park.

The Brooklyn, run at 1 1/2 miles, is the last of 10 races on a Friday card that begins at 1:05 p.m. and includes the Grade 3 Jaipur and listed Mariensky Stakes, both scheduled for the turf. The Brooklyn also is the first leg of a daily double wager, with a $1 minimum, linking to Saturday’s $1 million Belmont Stakes.

Rain is in the forecast for Friday, creating the possibility of a wet track.

On paper, Fast Falcon is the least accomplished member of an eight-horse field that includes 2012 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Calidoscopio, 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice, and 2011 Brooklyn winner Birdrun. But Fast Falcon’s narrow defeats in the Grade 1 Travers – he was third, beaten a neck behind dead-heat winners Alpha and Golden Ticket – and his neck loss to Teeth of the Dog in last summer’s Grade 2 Dwyer, show him capable of competing at this level.

[BROOKLYN HANDICAP: Get Friday's Belmont past performances]

“Distance is no problem,” said Nick Zito, a two-time Brooklyn winner and trainer of Fast Falcon. “The Travers, another jump, he wins the race. If that horse [Street Life] doesn’t get hurt and stop in front of him, he might have won the race.”

In his last start, Fast Falcon fell a nose short of Percussion, after having to pick up the chase to tackle that loose-on-the-lead runner in the Albert the Great Stakes.

“When you analyze it, it was just a bob,” Zito said. “He was in front, he wasn’t in front.”

Fast Falcon, will break from post 6 under Jose Lezcano.

Percussion, a son of 2006 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up Bluegrass Cat, has won three of four starts since moving to trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn. He has done his best work on the front end and is likely a forward factor again Friday under John Velazquez.

“I think he’s probably the speed of the race,” Pletcher said. “If he can get out there and kind of relax a little bit, the one thing we’ve seen with him is he’s very game. There have been a couple of times it looks like horses are going to go by him he digs in and fights.”

Percussion may not have things his own way Friday as Birdrun, who breaks from the rail, and Ruler On Ice, who breaks from post 8, are likely to send away from the gate to attain a forward position.

In 2011, Ruler On Ice won the Belmont Stakes over a sloppy track, but is just 1 for 12 since then.

The Argentine-bred Calidoscopio and the Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca are intriguing entrants in this field.

Calidoscopio was a multiple group stakes winner in Argentina before coming to North America and upsetting the Breeders’ Cup Marathon at 1 3/4 miles last fall at Santa Anita. He finished fifth in his 10-year-old debut, the Tokyo City at Santa Anita in March. His trainer, Mike Puype, believes Calidoscopio has moved forward off that run.

“In the last race, they walked a really slow pace, especially for standards of California racing,” Puype said. “When they booted for home, he never had a chance. Plus, I didn’t think he was 100 percent fit.”

Trainer Christophe Clement is eager to run Quick Casablanca at 1 1/2 miles, but would prefer a dry track. Clement cross-entered Quick Casablanca in Saturday’s Manhattan, in case he would prefer to run him over soft turf.

“He’s been working okay for us on a fast dirt track,” Clement said. “His race the other day was an okay race for a first race back. The plan is to run him on Friday, but I’d like to keep my options open.”

Keep Me Informed, who has a record 3-0-4 from 7 stats over a wet track, and Flashy Sunrise, who has won three of his last four starts this year for trainer Dallas Stewart, complete the field.

The Brooklyn, as well as the Jaipur, will be broadcast live during a one-hour telecast on NBC Sports Network beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.