09/22/2011 3:27PM

Belmont: Pomeroys Pistol put to test in Gallant Bloom

David Owens/Equiphoto
Trainer Amy Tarrant said she didn't want Pomeroys Pistol to prep for the Breeders' Cup in a spot that was too easy.

ELMONT, N.Y. − When looking for a spot to prep Pomeroys Pistol for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, owner and trainer Amy Tarrant didn’t want something that was going to be too easy.

She has come to the right spot. There is nothing easy about Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong race at Belmont Park that drew a solid field of seven fillies and mares, including 11-time stakes winner Tar Heel Mom and Bed O’ Roses Handicap winner Tamarind Hall. Pomeroys Pistol is the only 3-year-old in the field and will be meeting her elders for the first time.

With a victory in the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream in January and runner-up finishes in the Prioress and Test − Grade 1 races at Belmont and Saratoga − Pomeroys Pistol certainly merits consideration for the Filly and Mare Sprint.

In running second to Her Smile in the Grade 1 Prioress, Pomeroys Pistol rallied five wide in the stretch while Her Smile came up the rail to win by one-half length.

“We got robbed that time,” Tarrant said. “It was heartbreaking. She was coming on quite strong.”

In the seven-furlong Test at Saratoga, Pomeroys Pistol finished second to heavily favored Turbulent Descent.

“Johnny Velazquez said he wished he hadn’t taken her back so much,” Tarrant said. “She came out like a rocket. If he had to do it over again, he wouldn’t have taken her back. I feel Turbulent Descent is a fantastic filly, but nobody gave her a run. I think my horse would have given her a run for her money. I don’t know if we would have won, but she would have had to work a lot harder.

“I think she’s earned a chance to go the Breeders’ Cup,” Tarrant said. “I wanted one more race. I didn’t want it to be too easy. I wanted it to be something to get a good work out of.”

With rain in the forecast, there is a possibility of an off-track. Officially, Pomeroys Pistol has not run over a wet track, but she did win the Just Smashing Stakes over a sealed Monmouth Park track that was labeled fast but had moisture in it.

Tamarind Hall is 3 for 3 over an off-track. She won the Bed o’ Roses − defeating odds-on favorite Hilda’s Passion − over a back-raked track Belmont Park main track in July. After eight weeks off, Tamarind Hall finished third, 9 1/2 lengths behind Hilda’s Passion.

“She came out of the race really sharp, which leads me to believe it might have been too much time in between her races,” trainer Jeremiah Englehart said. “The spacing and timing going into this race is perfect. She seems like she’s pretty sharp. She’s working very aggressively.”

Tar Heel Mom, who finished a neck in front of Tamarind Hall in the Ballerina, is 6 for 10 over a wet track. Cutting back from seven to 6 1/2 furlongs will be beneficial. The rail post could be detrimental.

Trainer Eddie Kenneally won this race last year with My Jen. Saturday, he sends out Buckleupbuttercup, who comes off a third-level allowance win at Saratoga and who won the eight Belles at Churchill over a sloppy track.

Moontune Missy, second in this race a year ago, Lovely Lil and Katy Now complete the field.