05/13/2011 2:07PM

Belmont Park: Drosselmeyer still in hunt for a win this year

Barbara D. Livingston
Drosselmeyer, with Mike Smith up, wins the Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – After two lackluster efforts to begin 2011, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, Drosselmeyer, returns to the scene of his greatest triumph Sunday, hoping to jump-start his career when he meets five rivals in the $60,000 One Count Stakes at Belmont Park.

The One Count, run at 1 1/4 miles, is a prep to the Grade 2, $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap here on June 10.

Drosselmeyer upset the Belmont Stakes at 13-1 last June, but shortly thereafter went to the sidelines with ankle issues. He returned in the Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 5, where he finished fourth, a performance trainer Bill Mott figured his horse needed. But in the Grade 3 Skip Away, Drosselmeyer ran a disappointing fifth, beaten seven lengths by S.S. Stone.

“I thought he’d show a little bit more in the last one,” Mott said. “We thought he was going into the last race really well, I thought we had him pretty good. I’m hoping the third time is the charm.”

Jose Lezcano will ride Drosselmeyer from post 3.

Mott is also sending out Birdrun, who is the track record holder at this track for 1 1/16 miles (1:39.38). Though Birdrun has never run this far, Mott believes the distance “could be favorable for him.”

Butch Reid said he is looking to find out just how far Afleet Again wants to run. Last year, he won the Withers at Aqueduct going a mile, and finished fourth in the Travers, at 1 1/4 miles at Saratoga.

“We’re going to find out this year how far this horse wants to run,” Reid said. “I don’t think we ever got to the bottom of him last year.”

Reid was happy with Afleet Again’s second-place finish in a seven-furlong allowance race and also woldn’t mind if the forecasted showers make it here in time to make for a wet track on Sunday.

Inherit the Gold had a five-race win streak snapped when he finished seventh, beaten 4 3/4 lengths in the $1 million Charles Town Classic on April 16.

“He showed me more in defeat than sometimes they do in victory” trainer and part-owner Jim Hooper said. “He got sort of a bad trip, different-style oval, everything stacked up against him, but he managed to make three huge urns during the race.

“I think the question mark is how much did the rigorous winter campaign take out of him,” Hooper added. “If he’s the same horse, he’ll get the mile and a quarter.”

Alma d’Oro, who won the John Campbell Handicap at Laurel in February, and Maryland shipper Edgewater complete the field.