09/19/2012 3:59PM

Belmont Park: Sylvestris can end slide for Barbara

Tom Keyser
Sylvestris has lost her last four races.

ELMONT, N.Y. – A pair of allowance races scheduled for the turf – one short and one long – are the co-features on Belmont Park’s nine-race card Friday.

The eighth is a $77,000, second-level allowance going seven furlongs and looks like a good spot for Sylvestris and trainer Robert Barbara to end droughts.

Sylvestris won a first-level allowance race going seven furlongs here May 11. She has lost her last four starts. Barbara has gone 0 for 45 since Adjournment won a race at Belmont on May 18.

Sylvestris’s last race may typify the sort of year it has been for Barbara. Believing his filly was the lone speed in a second-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles at Saratoga, Barbara saw Sylvestris bobble leaving the gate and surrender the lead to Adjacent, who went gate to wire while Sylvestris chased from third and was beaten a neck.

“I thought she’d be on the lead, and she stumbled and he didn’t want to rush her to be on lead,” said Barbara, referring to jockey Ramon Dominguez. “She was third on the fence, and when she came out she fired, but she didn’t explode.”

Barbara has been happy with how Sylvestris has trained since the race, and cutting back to seven furlongs, she figures to come from off the pace in this field.

With Revenue, Button Girl, and Resonating in the field, there figures to be ample pace at which to close.

Tapit Dancer and Warm Hugs are other contenders in the field.

The seventh is a first-level allowance for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles. This race seemingly has no speed in it, which may be a good thing for Zultanite, trained by David Donk.

Zultanite drops into allowance company after competing in four consecutive stakes. Her last try at this level, she finished second to Colonial Flag, who most recently won the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen at Woodbine on Aug. 25. Colonial Flag was entered in an overnight stakes at Belmont on Thursday.

Donk said he would like to see jockey Irad Ortiz, who replaces Dominguez, put Zultanite into Friday’s race early.

“Last time Ramon got hung out wide a little bit, took her back – probably wish he didn’t,” Donk said. “She doesn’t have a great turn of foot, I think she needs to be in the race.”

Antonia Autumn, a half-sister to Gio Ponti, makes her third attempt at clearing the first-level allowance hurdle. She won her debut going a mile in April and was third and second in her two tries against winners.

Holiday’s Jewel showed speed on dirt, but her success on turf has come from off the pace. She is the lone member of this field to have won at 1 1/8 miles.