06/05/2012 12:23PM

Belmont: Late pick four all turf, weather permitting


ELMONT, N.Y. – Multi-race exotic bettors will keep an eye to the sky Thursday, as five of six races in the pick-six sequence are scheduled for turf, including the entire late pick four.

All of the turf races attracted full to overflowing fields.

In the featured second-level optional $50,000 claiming race at seven furlongs, a dozen New York-bred fillies and mares will square off. Heading the lineup are Linda Rice’s uncoupled duo of horse for course Karakorum Elektra, and former Saratoga record-holder Lady Rizzi, who are the senior members of the group.

Now 8, Karakorum Elektra makes her first start since last fall, and will be shooting for her 10th victory on Belmont turf. She has won at least one turf race here every year, dating back to a maiden win in May 2007.

“She handles the big, sweeping turns at Belmont better than tighter courses,” said Rice. “She doesn’t corner well.”

By contrast, 9-year-old Lady Rizzi is winless from eight starts at Belmont, but has won six times at other tracks, including 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:00.66 that stood as the Saratoga record for two years. She came close to a win here last July, when beaten just a half-length by Karakorum Elektra.

“She’s been a lot of fun and very good to us over the years,” said Rice of Lady Rizzi, who has never run past six furlongs in 36 prior starts.

Both Rice-trained mares are in for the $50,000 optional claiming price, as are Loyal Shadow and Paraiba, who are multiple winners here as well. Indeed, they finished one-two in a spot like this last May, when Loyal Shadow prevailed by a neck and lit up the tote board at 56-1 for Gary Sciacca. She was 31-1 and 11-1 in two earlier wins over the Widener course.

Paraiba, trained by David Donk, returned the favor last fall on yielding turf, edging Loyal Shadow by a half-length at nearly 9-1.

The uncoupled 3-year-olds Mon Rose and Sing Dixie Sing make their turf debuts for Jimmy Jerkens.

Sing Dixie Sing is out of Canaryinacage, an mare whose half-brother, Exclusive Bluff, won the only two starts of his career, both of them on Belmont turf, including the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes.