06/27/2012 3:06PM

Belmont: London Company Stakes begins season's first twilight card


ELMONT, N.Y. – The feature race on Friday’s card at Belmont Park comes early – sort of– when seven turf-meant 3-year-olds kick off the first of three “Party at the Park” Fridays in the London Company overnight stakes.

The $90,000 London Company, scheduled for the inner turf at 1 1/8 miles, begins a nine-race card. First post is 3 p.m. Eastern, as it will be on the two remaining Fridays at the meet.

Easy Crossing, a $4,000 bargain basement colt by English Channel, looms the probable favorite for Christophe Clement, who also sends out Malibu Way.

Easy Crossing has won or placed in each of his first four starts, and was beaten just a neck most recently in the James W. Murphy Stakes on the Preakness undercard. Two horses that finished behind him have come back to win, including Hammers Terror, who took the $100,000 Charlie Barley Stakes at Woodbine.

Malibu Way has been involved in three photo finishes from as many starts, and has prevailed in two of them, including a game score in the Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The New York-bred King Kreesa has won two of three starts since switched to turf by trainer Jeremiah Englehart, and comes off a front-running triumph in the Spectacular Bid division of the New York Stallion Stakes at seven furlongs. His Beyer Speed Figure of 90 for that five-length win is tops in the field, and Englehart feels the King Cugat gelding can carry his speed farther.

“I don’t think distance will be a problem for him, and I think he can still improve,” Englehart said. “Irad [Ortiz] put him in a beautiful spot…and it was all over from there.”

Star Channel, another son of English Channel, won three in a row in Florida for Todd Pletcher, capped by the Sophomore Turf Stakes for Florida-breds. He then unseated Javier Castellano nearing the stretch of the American Turf, followed by a seventh in the Hill Prince.

He’s a Fireball and Monarchic emerge from first-level allowance victories. Monarchic was cross-entered in Saturday’s Dwyer by trainer Eoin Harty.

Shkspeare Shaliyah, beaten 41 lengths in four starts since winning the Pilgrim last fall, also entered for turf.

Seven for Dwyer, six for New York

Fields were drawn Wednesday for the Dwyer and New York, the co-featured $200,000 stakes on an 11-race card Saturday.

Aruna, last-out winner of the Sheepshead Bay, breaks from the rail and heads a field of six fillies and mares entered for turf in the Grade 2 New York. Drawn outside her, in order, are Hit It Rich, Principal Role, Mystical Star, The Underling, and Banimpire.

Acting Happy entered dirt only.

The Grade 2 Dwyer attracted seven 3-year-olds, headed by Teeth of the Dog, last-out winner of the Easy Goer Stakes for Michael Matz.

From the rail out, the field is: Morgan’s Guerrilla, Fast Falcon, Guyana Star Dweej, Unstoppable U, Zetterholm, Teeth of the Dog, and Monarchic.