09/24/2013 2:57PM

Belmont Park: Antonucci has three contenders in two allowance sprints

Tom Keyser
Howaboutwe, winner of a maiden race two starts ago, seeks his second career win in Thursday's third race for New York-bred 2-year-olds.

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The “A” team will be out in force Thursday when Jena Antonucci saddles three runners in a pair of six-furlong allowance races that highlight a 10-race program at Belmont Park.

“We’re ready to roll,” said Antonucci, who sent out three winners at Saratoga and has kept up the momentum with two more at Belmont’s fall meet.

In race 3, a first-level optional $75,000 claimer for New York-bred juveniles, Antonucci has the uncoupled duo of Howaboutwe, who was one of two main-track-only winners for the stable in the mud Aug. 14, and Captain Toews, who made up a dozen lengths to win his debut at 7-1 here opening weekend.

Along with the Steve Asmussen-trained Double Gold, Howaboutwe drops out of the Law Enforcement overnight stakes during the final week at Saratoga.

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“Howaboutwe is a homebred. He grew up in our backyard in Florida,” said Antonucci, who recently surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings. “He’s obviously near and dear to us, having watched him grow up and get it done, especially second time out.”

Captain Toews, named for the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, hit the side of the gate to come out slowest on Sept. 8, but gained steadily thereafter to get up in time.

Court Dancer, who was geared down winning her debut by nearly eight lengths, takes on the boys for George Weaver. She is the even-money favorite after earning a stick-out Beyer Speed Figure of 76, the top number by double-digits.

Completing the field are Carolinian, who was outdueled by Howaboutwe in the mud before wiring maidens on turf here two weeks ago for Gary Contessa; and So Lonesome, who shipped to the Spa to win his debut for Maryland-based Dale Capuano and has remained in New York with Tom Bush.

Although Five Star Momma didn’t win for Antonucci upstate, she turned in two consecutive peak efforts, beginning with a surprising third in an overnight stakes at 15-1, and looms a solid contender against five rival fillies and mares in race 5, a second-level optional $35,000 claimer.

“She is doing great,” Antonucci said. “She ran huge numbers, the fastest of her career.

Five Star Momma may vie for favoritism with D’princess, a speedster claimed by Rudy Rodriguez from a front-running win in the Saratoga slop most recently.

That was the third win of the year for D’princess, which is three more than the rest combined. Four of her opponents, Arlene’s Holiday, Brown Eyed Nance, Love Contract, and Superior Sarah, have collectively started just three times in 2013.