10/17/2011 3:03PM

Belmont Park: Battingstar will face pressure in turf sprint


ELMONT, N.Y. – With rain forecast as an odds-on proposition, Mother Nature could wreak havoc with Wednesday’s card. Five races are scheduled for turf, beginning with race 2, a six-furlong optional claimer scheduled for the inner course.

After setting the pace from post 12 in an overnight stakes, Battingstar looms the speed of the speed among 11 turf-meant fillies and mares. However, the Gary Contessa-trained mare could face pressure from Silver Screamer, a two-time winner on the front end at Saratoga; and Alluring Power, sidelined since leading to deep stretch in a Gulfstream Park allowance. Afaaf, a front-running maiden winner at the spring-summer meet, and Knockinelder, who led to the stretch against open $25,000 claimers 12 days ago, also have speed.

Sounds of the City, who rallied from midpack to win first time on turf for Alan Goldberg 13 days ago, could benefit from contested early fractions.

Pretty Cozzy entered main track only. She would become the one to catch and beat on dirt in the wake of three recent wins at Finger Lakes for Chris Englehart.

Four races in an all-claiming pick six with a $27,087 carryover are scheduled for turf as well.

The sequence begins on dirt with race 4 (post time 2:35 p.m. Eastern), a maiden claimer for 2-year-old New York-bred fillies. Flying Zee Stable’s Flavor Girl has beaten the three other experienced runners convincingly. Four first-time starters are in the lineup, including Gabrilicious, a homebred half-sister to Saltamontes, who won her debut and an overnight stakes at 2.

The only other race scheduled for the main track is race 8, a $35,000 claimer for 3-year-olds at six furlongs, where Orsonian will vie for favoritism with Expecting Cash.

Orsonian, claimed by Rick Schosberg from a maiden win at Saratoga, was second in a swiftly run race in the slop here a month later and then was beaten just more than two lengths in allowance company. The Officer colt wore an aluminum pad in both races.

“He had a superficial-type frog injury, but he’s been training without the pad, so we’ll probably take it off,” Schosberg said. “It’s a great spot for him. He handles a wet track fine, so that definitely would not be a disadvantage for us.”

Expecting Cash cuts back to his best distance for Steve Asmussen and Corey Nakatani, who teamed up for four wins on the Oct. 8 program.