10/16/2012 2:13PM

Belmont: Feature offers few local clues

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Fantasy of Flight has not raced since finishing last in the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs back in May.

ELMONT, N.Y. – There won’t be much recent local form to go on when seven fillies and mares clash in Thursday’s Belmont Park feature, a seven-furlong optional claimer with third-level allowance conditions that is carded as race 4 and thus the opening leg of the pick six.

Except for Daddy’s Honor – who is based at Monmouth Park for trainer Jorge Navarro, and exits a tough spot setting the pace against Awesome Feather – no one in the race has run at the meet.

The horse with the best recent form, Geeky Gorgeous, has not been worse than second this year, but she will be making her first start away from Monmouth for trainer Daniel Lopez.

None of the other five have run recently, including morning-line favorite Fantasy of Flight and Yara, who also faced Breeders’ Cup-bound rivals before going to the shelf.

Fantasy of Flight makes her first start since finishing last in the Humana Distaff behind Groupie Doll, who will be the favorite in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint. She runs for a new trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr., while still eligible for a second-level allowance.

Yara posted a shocking upset in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at 64-1 for former trainer Jose Garoffalo, but has since lost four graded stakes starts by a combined 96 lengths. Given over to Juan Carlos Guerrero for two starts at Saratoga, she finished last against Questing in the Coaching Club American Oaks and Contested in the Test.

Bessie M, Sure Route, and Twice the Lady have all been idle since August. Twice the Lady was scratched from Sunday’s Classy Mirage by Tony Dutrow, who entered the Delaware Park-based filly for the $75,000 optional claim price.

Bessie M, a beaten favorite at Saratoga last out, was also entered for $75,000 by Dominic Galluscio.

Sure Route, a winner on turf and synthetic in England, but winless in eight starts since coming to the United States, makes her first dirt start for Bobby Ribuado.

Free as a Bird, a lengthy maiden winner at seven furlongs when switched to turf by Ian Wilkes last month, will be favored over nine other turf-meant fillies in race 8, a first-level allowance scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the inner course.

Free as a Bird earned a Beyer Figure of 89 for the win, a figure the others haven’t matched in 61 combined starts on grass.