05/21/2012 3:25PM

Belmont: Feature really two races within one


ELMONT, N.Y. – Regardless on which surface it is run, Wednesday’s second-level optional $50,000 claiming feature at Belmont Park looks to be a competitive event.

Eight horses were entered to run if the race remains on the turf at seven furlongs as scheduled. There are six horses entered only in case the race is moved to the main track. Heavy showers pummeled the area on Monday and more unsettled weather was forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

On class, Surfrider looks to be the one to beat if the race remains on turf. Racing in Europe as a 3-year-old, Surfrider won a Group 3 race in France in April and was third in a Group 1 race in which the three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winning mare Goldikova was second.

In his only start in this country this year, a slow-starting Surfrider finished fifth in the Grade 3 Shakertown in which a course record for 5 1/2 furlongs was set at Keeneland. Havelock and Great Attack, the fourth- and sixth-place finishers from that race, came back to win Grade 3 turf sprints.

“Nothing went right for him at Keeneland,” said Eddie Kenneally, the trainer of Surfrider. “He got off to a slow start and it was only 5 1/2 furlongs, which is too short for him. Seven furlongs is going to be a much better fit. I think he’s trained really well and gained a lot from the experience first time in America.”

Ramon Dominguez rides Surfrider.

After recording a front-running victory in a six-furlong turf sprint on April 29 here, Non Stop tries to carry that speed an additional furlong on Wednesday.

Three horses are being offered for the optional claiming tag of $50,000, including the 7-year-old Rogue Victory, who returns to turf after finishing last in a dirt race run under these same conditions.

Last June 11, Rogue Victory won a $50,000 claiming race going 1 1/16 miles over the Belmont turf.

Yield Bogey, a two-time winner over Belmont turf; and Fastest Magician, an overnight stakes winner going seven furlongs on yielding Belmont turf last spring, are the others being offered for a tag.

If the race is run at seven furlongs on dirt, Isn’t He Perfect could be the one to beat given the plethora of speed in the field. In two starts for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Isn’t He Perfect has finished second, including a neck loss to Inherit the Gold in the Action Stakes at Aqueduct on April 15.

Trainer Bill Mott sends out the uncoupled entry of Star Harbour and Keep Me Informed. After three disappointing efforts on Aqueduct’s inner track, Star Harbour won an allowance race over the main track by 8 1/2 lengths. Keep Me Informed is stepping up off two wins for a $30,000 claiming price, but may benefit from the race dynamics.

Sovereign Default, Mysticism, and Gallant Fields are all in with a chance if the race is run on the dirt