05/11/2011 4:12PM

Belmont: Rice holds a strong hand in Gila Stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. – Linda Rice was proud of the fact that she was able to share the Aqueduct spring trainer’s title without winning a single turf race. The move to Belmont Park usually means more turf racing, especially more turf sprints, the type of races Rice has shown an affinity at winning.

On Friday, Rice has four of the eight horses entered in the $60,000 Glia Stakes for fillies and mares going six furlongs over Belmont’s inner turf course. It remains to be seen how many she starts, though on Wednesday Rice said Karakorum Elektra and Precision Farming are definite runners. Rice also entered Ahvee’s Destiny and Lady Rizzi.

Karakorum Elektra is 7 for 15 over the Belmont turf course, where she has won four of her last six starts dating back two years. Karakorum Elektra, a 7-year-old New York-bred daughter of Freud, has not been out since winning a third-level allowance against males Sept. 22. Rice said she stopped on the mare when the weather took a turn for the worse. For the winter, Rice sent her to Pat Hoppel, who breaks horses for the owner, Karakorum Farm.

Karakorum Elektra has fired fresh off the layoff before, and her recent workouts have Rice confident she will do so again. Cornelio Velasquez rides from post 6.

“I’d say the last two years she’s been a little flat sometimes in the morning and I’ve been a little concerned as to whether or not she would come back to form,” Rice said. “Her last two works have been good. She loves this course, and I’m excited about running her.”

Precision Farming is 3 for 4 at Belmont, including two victories last fall. She has not run since finishing ninth in a stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in December.

“She could use a race, she might be a little short,” Rice said.

New Jersey-based trainer Alan Goldberg ships up Out Post, who has not raced since July 31 when she was beaten a neck by the Rice-trained Canadian Ballet in the $100,000 Jenny Wade Stakes at Penn National.

“She bruised her foot at Penn National, and it took us a while to get her back,” said Goldberg, who is 4 for 5 at the meet. “She’s doing well. We got a fresh horse.”

Goldberg also has a fast horse who might be able to control the pace under Javier Castellano from post 2.

Strike the Bell won a pair of one-mile stakes in New York last fall but did show enough turn of foot to win going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga in 2009.