04/29/2011 3:02PM

Belmont: Safety Check, Fastest Magician will take action


ELMONT, N.Y. – Neither of the two overnight stakes for New York-breds drew sufficient entries to be carded for Sunday, thus the feature at Belmont Park is a first-level allowance sprint for 3-year-olds and up that drew an intriguing group of six.

The regally bred Safety Check and the European shipper Fastest Magician – both returning from long layoffs – are likely to draw the most interest from bettors in the 6 1/2-furlong dash that will go as race 4 on a 10-race card.

Safety Check is a son of Empire Maker out of the 1989 champion sprinter Safely Kept who has not raced since finishing last in a first-level allowance race at Belmont last June. In his start before that, Safety Check won a seven-furlong maiden race by seven lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 in the process.

Alan Goldberg, who trains Safety Check for owner/breeder Richard Santullli, said the colt came out of his June race with an ankle issue that required time.

“He’s come back good,” said Goldberg, who has a 46-percent success rate (6 for 13) the last 17 months bringing horses back off layoffs of six months or longer. “I think he’s tight enough.”

Goldberg mentioned that many of the other foals out of Safely Kept – including the stakes winner Contrast – had some kind of physical issue that prevented them from reaching their potential.

“This horse, other than the ankle thing, has been sound,” he said.

Safety Check will break from post 3 under Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard for his two Belmont races last year.

Fastest Magician is a Kentucky-bred son of Johannesburg bred and owned by Charles Fipke. The horse raced for trainer Jeremy Noseda in Europe at 2, where he overcame a slow start to win his debut last Nov. 17 by 1 1/2 lengths at 7-2 in an 11-horse field over the synthetic surface at Lingfield.

Now in the care of Barclay Tagg, Fastest Magician shows a couple of solid works at Gulfstream Park for his North American debut and will race on Lasix for the first time. John Velazquez, who is scheduled to breeze Uncle Mo at Churchill Downs Sunday morning, is expected to be back in New York in time to ride Fastest Magician.

“He looks like he’s got a lot of speed,” Tagg said. “He seems like he’s quick. He had enough speed to win his first race.”

The hard-knocking Fastus Cactus will likely try to gun out of the gate from the rail under Jose Espinoza. Sam Sparkle, who removes blinkers after a slow start at the gate last time, Black Pen, and Tuvia’s Force complete the field.