06/22/2011 3:14PM

Belmont Park: Rain would help Kindergarden Kid


ELMONT, N.Y. – Regardless on which surface it is run, Friday’s second-level allowance feature is a challenging handicapping puzzle.

The race is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course, and determining which of the five horses entered for the turf will make the lead is extremely difficult. There are also five horses entered in case the race is transferred to the dirt, and the probable favorite, Rocking Out, has thus far been suspect beyond sprint distances.

On-and-off showers were forecast Wednesday through Friday morning, meaning it is likely that there will at least be some give in the ground if the race is run on the turf. That should be to the liking of Kindergarden Kid, who has two wins on turf labeled “good” and was a respectable third in an overnight stakes run on yielding ground last month.

“He likes give in it, for sure,” said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg. “He prefers that over hard.”

Smullen said she believes Kindergarden Kid also prefers longer distances than this, but said those races have been hard to find.

While Kindergarden Kid, a 4-year-old Dynaformer gelding, has shown a preference to come from off the pace, Smullen believes he is versatile enough to be into the race from the outset if need be.

“He doesn’t have to be back, he just has to run his race,” Smullen said. “If there’s no pace, he could very well be a length off of it.”

Three of the five turf horses are entered for the optional claiming prices of $65,000, including Rogue Victory, who makes his first start off the Steve Asmussen claim. Rogue Victory overcame a pedestrian pace to win this similar condition when the claiming price was $50,000 last out. Ramon Dominguez rides.

Hariolus, who won a first-level allowance at Gulfstream in March, ships up from Delaware for owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Nick Canani. Lime Rickey and Kutais complete the field.

On dirt, Rocking Out should appreciate stretching out to 1 1/16 miles, but in two starts at a mile he has not run that well. He finished third and fourth in two starts at a mile, though one of those races came against Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream.

Lord Justice, unraced since February, has been transferred to Joe Orseno by Frank Stronach. Lord Justice has the speed to be a factor and is 2 for 2 over wet tracks.