07/10/2012 3:25PM

Belmont: Pick six players chase $251,315 carryover


ELMONT, N.Y. – Everyone is naturally looking ahead to Saratoga, but interest in an otherwise ordinary card on Thursday is heightened by a pick six carryover of $251,315 as a short final week at Belmont begins.

The skull-busting exercise includes four maiden races, and numbers 57 betting interests, assuming there is turf racing. It gets under way with race 4, a $35,000 beaten claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on turf, at 2:26 p.m. Eastern.

Here is the rundown:

Race 4: Between them, the 9-year-olds Mabou and Silver Timber have run 83 times and earned more than $1 million. Last summer, Mabou won the Grade 1 Turf Writers Cup three weeks after being claimed by David Jacobson, but he has never run at less than a mile, and hasn’t won a flat race since 2008. Silver Timber is a five-time graded stakes winner, but has never won past six furlongs and hasn’t even tried going longer than that since the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

[BELMONT PICK SIX CARRYOVER: Get PPs and watch video preview]

The likely favorite is Rustler Hustler, a Bill Mott-trained dropdown who won stakes back to back as a 2-year-old in 2010. He has been no better than third ever since. Bruce Alley, away since meeting 2010 Saratoga stakes winners Seal Cove and Big Blue Kitten, over a year ago, is a threat if ready.

Race 5: Priscilla Marie beat half the field in her debut two weeks ago, but is surrounded by first-time starters. For pick six purposes, a glimpse of the double will-pays is the only way to get a clue about betting action.

Likely to attract support are Funfair (trained by Christophe Clement), who has two siblings to have won at the current meet for the same trainer; High N Far (Alan Goldberg), whose older half-sister Spun Ribbon won a turf allowance at Louisiana Downs last Sunday; Colorful Image (Todd Pletcher), who has worked three times on turf recently; and Giant Cats Eye (Tom Albertrani), a $300,000 yearling purchase.

Race 6: This $65,000 maiden turf claimer may be a tough leg to get by. Nine of the 10 fillies have recorded virtually identical Beyer Figures, and seven return from layoffs.

Comment, away since two fifth-place finishes at Gulfstream Park for Mott, is the only one never to have lost a maiden claimer. She may go favored over Attention and Qualionne, who were runner-up finishers last fall and haven’t run since then.

Race 7: Fast track form is lacking, and there is not much pace in this $35,000 maiden claimer out of the main-track chute.

Upside Down, shipping in for Fair Hill-based Mike Trombetta, and dropping in class after an improved second try at Delaware Park, may be the one to catch from the rail.

Sokitumi Samurai, beaten a nose for $50,000 last out, looks logical enough but has already lost three times this year at 5-2 or lower.

Secret Shifters, who puts blinkers on for leading trainer Richard Dutrow Jr., has been away since a dead-rail trip in the slop May 9.

Race 8: It is brother against brother, and father against son in this starter/optional claiming sprint. Haya’s Boy, second in the G.W. Barker Stakes last out, is among the most improved horses in New York since being claimed for $7,500 by Jeremiah Englehart. He may have to catch War Colony, idle since a game try in the slop for Jeremiah’s father Chris Englehart in late May.

Christopher’s Joy, who followed a sharp win in his local debut with a bullet work for Tony Dutrow, is a big threat, while Washington’s Rules makes his first start since New Year’s Day for Tony’s brother Richard.

Race 9: My Sparky vanished after running fifth in her 2010 debut against More Than Real, who won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“I don’t know what she’s going to do,” said trainer George Weaver. “She’s coming off a double layoff line, and most people know what that means. I’m hoping the drop helps her get there.”

Rock On Home is the likely pacesetter after chasing favored dropdown Vindicated Ghost in her return for David Donk. Discreet Lady and Rennina are other contenders in a treacherous anchor leg.