06/04/2013 1:11PM

Belmont: Long-absent Jeter returns in sprint for new barn

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Tom Keyser
The New York-bred Jeter will make his first start since November for new trainer Kelly Breen in a six-furlong sprint Thursday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Jeter is back in the lineup Thursday!

No, not New York Yankees’ star shortstop Derek Jeter, but rather the Thoroughbred version, who will be in action for the first time since November for new trainer Kelly Breen in Thursday’s seventh race at Belmont Park.

Like his namesake, Jeter has been something of a fan favorite. He went to the post as the public’s choice six times for former trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., beginning with a lengthy maiden triumph last year off a layoff of nearly six months.

After coming up short (forgive me) in six straight allowance attempts, Jeter finally scored in his final start of the season, when he rocketed six furlongs in 1:09.59 at Aqueduct and earned a stellar Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

A natural stalker, Jeter is ideally drawn on the outside for his initial try in the second-level optional $35,000 claiming race for New York-breds, and he returns at his best distance of six furlongs. To his inside, in post position order, are Isn’tlovejustgrand, Driven by Solar, Tancredi, Won Great Classic, and Marsh Dawg.

Marsh Dawg, a 7-year-old gelding in for the optional claiming price, has posted all eight of his lifetime victories at Finger Lakes. The last two were blowouts in consecutive starts spaced 355 days apart, by better than six lengths on May 24 of last year and by better than nine lengths in his recent comeback for trainer Chris Englehart.

“He had some gate issues and problems with a knee, but he’s doing good right now,” said Englehart, the runaway leader at the Canandaigua oval with a 35-for-95 record through Monday. “There aren’t too many races at Finger Lakes for him other than stakes like the Eddie Barker, so I figured I’d bring him down and run him. I think he fits, but it all depends on how Jeter comes back.”

Driven by Solar is another 7-year-old trying to prove he doesn’t need to carry his racetrack around with him. All seven of his dirt wins have come on Aqueduct’s inner-dirt surface, the latest on March 21 when claimed by Jamie Ness.

Making his first start for Ness two months later, Driven by Solar was dispatched as the 3-2 choice in the slop here, but finished off the board after battling for the lead between rivals.

The consistent Tancredi, a two-time winner this year, looms a solid pace factor.