05/22/2012 3:28PM

Belmont Park: Plenty of handicapping angles for Thursday turf feature


ELMONT, N.Y. – There’s something for everyone in Thursday’s optional claiming feature scheduled for the Widener turf at seven furlongs.

Trip handicappers have been waiting for Finding Neverland, ever since the French import was off slow and caught in traffic behind a slow pace in her U.S. debut for Christophe Clement. The 4-year-old filly, who won on firm and soft ground overseas, projects to get livelier fractions up front, supplied in part by her Waterville Lake Stable entrymate, Celtic Chant, who comes off front-running victories on fast and wet dirt for trainer Chris Englehart.

Speed-figure enthusiasts will land on Silver Screamer, who won four of her last five starts in 2011. The daughter of Cozzene was faster than ever in her 4-year-old debut for Rudy Rodriguez, when she set the pace and earned a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure for a placing to Laughing, who won in near-record time and was subsequently third in the Gallorette Stakes.

Class-on-the-grass theorists can choose among Limonar or Button Girl.

Limonar is now a stablemate of Finding Neverland, and she beat that rival in the Prix Coronation at Saint-Cloud last fall. She will turn back in distance after being outfinished at 1 1/16 miles in this condition.

Button Girl led at the stretch call in both of her starts at Gulfstream – against Race to Urga, who has won four straight after coming back to take a third-level allowance and the Wait a While Stakes, and against Arch Support, who is graded stakes placed.

Horse-for-course mavens can take their pick between J C’s Queen and Paraiba, who have combined for all five of the field’s wins over the local courses.

J C’s Queen was third to Silver Screamer at the end of a 16-race campaign in 2011 and returned to win her first start of the year at Aqueduct, getting up in the last jump for Bobby Barbara.

Paraiba is a 50-50 proposition for exacta bettors as she has won or placed in 9 of 18 on Belmont turf for David Donk since September 2008.

Bias watchers will give Revenue a long look, after the Bill Mott-trained filly finished a clear second to Celtic Chant on a speed-favoring sloppy track three weeks ago.

Longshot fanciers will try to make a case for High Alpine, Lindz Windz, or Verse Choir.

Harbor Mist, winner in the mud May 4, entered dirt only.