05/23/2012 2:19PM

Belmont feature contenders hard to separate


Marquee value is lacking in Friday’s nominal feature at Belmont Park, but there’s no arguing the fact that all seven shooting for their second-level allowance condition in race 8 are closely matched on paper.

Indeed, the Beyer Speed Figures that handicappers have come to rely on the past two decades aren’t much help in sorting out these New York-bred fillies. Aptphilly, Fiftyfour Forever, Full of Intent, Honey Mou, Newbie, and Princess Mara have all registered virtually identical figures in the 68-70 range in wins this year, and My Unbridled Storm is only a length or two behind based on her best efforts.

Aptphilly was beaten in a photo on the turf at Aqueduct seven weeks ago, and was claimed out of the race for $16,000 by Richard Schosberg. A daughter of Aptitude, she has turned in five workouts since then, capped by a three-furlong blowout on Sunday. She is switching from turf to dirt, a surface change that produced a wire-to-wire victory over restricted claimers at Belmont last fall.

“She’s training great, and I like her chances,” said Schosberg. “She’s a very versatile filly, and I think she will run well.”

Full of Intent, claimed for $16,000 in mid-winter, has since won both of her starts for Repole Stable and Bruce Levine.

Newbie never got untracked in the mud here three weeks ago, but before that was a front-running winner out of the chute at Aqueduct for John Kimmel.

Fiftyfour Forever, who pulled off an 18-1 upset in her local bow for Anthony Quartarolo, wheels back 12 days later while stretching out from 6 1/2 furlongs to a mile.

The Dale Romans-trained Princess Mara gets a switch back to Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for her first two victories.

The richest races on the program are maiden special weights for fillies, and Christophe Clement will have starters in all three, including first-time starters in the two 1 1/16-mile routes that begin and end the early pick four.

Clement, who has won 25 percent of the time (14 for 56) with debuting routers the past two years, takes the wraps off Gold Empire in race 2 on the main track and Hollywood Queen in race 5, which is scheduled for the inner turf.

In race 9, a $70,000 event scheduled for the Widener turf at seven furlongs, the Clement-trained Clarinda makes her seasonal debut, after showing promise in two starts last fall on dirt and synthetic.