10/05/2011 2:47PM

Belmont: Mabou make rare appearance on flat in prep for Grand National steeplechase


ELMONT, N.Y. – It has been quite a sensational last couple of months for trainer David Jacobson.

At Saratoga, he won 5 races from 27 starters, including the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup with Mabou, an 8-year-old gelding he claimed for $30,000. Through the first 18 days of Belmont’s fall meet, Jacobson sits atop the trainer standings with 10 wins from 22 starters.

Friday, at Belmont Park, Jacobson will return Mabou to flat racing when he runs him in a $42,000 starter handicap at 1 1/16 miles over the Widener turf course. Jacobson is using the race as a prep for the Grade 1 Grand National, a 2 5/8-miles steeplechase event at Far Hills, N.J. on Oct 22.

This race was originally in the condition book for last weekend, but was not used until Friday.

“I would have preferred more time, but this is the best I can do if I want to get something into him,’’ Jacobson said. “I’m just looking for a good performance.’’

Mabou, a son of Dynaformer, has not raced over the flats since Aug. 20, 2008, when he finished second in a $20,000 claiming race at Laurel Park. Overall, he is 5 for 22 over the flats.

“He’s got legitimate numbers,’’ Jacobson said. “If he goes back to those races, he fits big time in this race. I just don’t know if those long hurdles have taken the speed out of him. This is a sprint.’’

There is very little speed in this field, which could make Parc de Princes a major player. The 7-year-old Parc de Princes is cutting back from a sixth-place finish just nine days ago going 1 1/4 miles in a $35,000 claimer. Parc de Princes has run well at Belmont, finishing in the top three eight of 10 starts.

Parc des Princes is trained by Gary Contessa, who also sends out Almoradi, who comes off a third-place finish in a $35,000 claimer here 10 days ago.

Unaccountable, trained by Chad Brown, won a starter handicap here in June. He has faced and run competitively with better in each of his last three starts, including a fourth-place finish in a second-level allowance here on Sept. 21.

Perfect Footprint had a three-race winning streak snapped when he finished fourth in the Third Martini Stakes here on Sept. 23. Overall, he has 4 wins and 2 seconds from 8 starts on turf.

Unbridled Heat, Red Leader, Bold Vindication, and The Vin Man complete the field.