10/24/2011 2:43PM

Belmont: Imagining comes in off strong score


ELMONT, N.Y. – The final week of racing at Belmont Park begins Wednesday with a pick-six carryover of $26,852 in which five of the six legs in the sequence are scheduled for turf.

That includes the featured first-level allowance race at a mile over the Widener turf course for 3-year-olds-and-up that drew an overflow field of 12 led by the well-bred Imagining, coming off an authoritative 5 1/4-length maiden score in his last start. A son of Giant’s Causeway out of the grade-stakes winning dam Daydreaming, Imagining will break from post 10 in a race that will be limited to that many starters.

Imagining, trained by Shug McGaughey, finished second in his first two starts, races that featured very rapid early fractions with Imagining trailing the field and coming with a strong late run. In his most recent race, a nine-furlong maiden affair over Belmont’s inner turf on Sept. 21, Imagining took the early initiative in a paceless affair under Javier Castellano and went gate to wire.

“The other day he broke with them and everybody took back and he found himself on the lead,” McGaughey said.

Noting that Imagining’s second start – a 2 1/2-length loss to Corporate Jungle – came at Saratoga, McGaughey said, “I don’t think that little track at Saratoga was his ballgame. He’s a big horse, and had a little trouble getting around those turns, and the winner just got away from him.”

E.H. Indy is by A.P. Indy out of the dam Auntie Mame, who went 5 for 5 over Belmont’s turf, including a victory in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational. E.H. Indy is 1 for 2 over the Belmont turf and came back from a 15-month layoff with a fifth-place finish in a first-level allowance race in the mud on Oct. 2.

Trainer Angel Penna Jr. explained that E.H. Indy was off for so long because of a hairline fracture in a hind leg and was in need of a race when he ran last time.

“He’s a lot fitter now,” Penna said. “I’m just trying to get his old form back.”

Unbridled Ocean finished fourth in the same Aug. 13 race that Imagining finished second before coming back to win a maiden race here on Sept. 16 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

While seven of the horses entered have just a maiden win under their belt, Freshman Dorm is a five-time winner and rides a three-race win streak into this heat. Freshman Dorm, trained Kiaran McLaughlin, has not been out since winning a restricted optional claimer over the inner turf course here on Sept. 10, opening day.

Global Power, trained by Chad Brown, is out of a dam who was a stakes winner on turf. He shows a second-best-out-of-25 turf work at Saratoga on Oct. 7.