05/26/2012 2:53PM

Belmont: Somali Lemonade coming off strong effort

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As the only stakes winner in the lineup, and coming off a good effort in her first start of the season, Somali Lemonade will be favored over seven other 3-year-old fillies in Monday’s $200,000 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Grade 2 Sands Point, scheduled for the inner turf at 1 1/16 miles, is race 7 and the first leg of an all-stakes pick four with a $500,000 guaranteed pool. Post time is 4:06 p.m. Eastern.

Last fall, Somali Lemonade won her first two starts with big late runs for trainer Michael Matz, beginning with a maiden special weight here. A month later, she was last of 12 early in the Jessamine at Keeneland, and rallied to win going away.

Following a difficult trip finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Somali Lemonade wintered at Palm Meadows. She made her first start of the year in the Appalachian Stakes, and rallied for second behind Dayatthespa, who had things her own way on an easy lead.

“She finished up well, but the race really didn’t set up for her,” said Matz. “The timing to this race is good, and she’s doing well. Hopefully, we’ll have a good start to the year.”

While probable second choice Regalo Mia hasn’t yet won a stakes for Michelle Nihei, it seems like only a matter of time before she breaks through. Coming off a five-month absence in late December at Gulfstream, she rallied wide for a maiden win from post 12 at the expense of Coup, who won the recent Hilltop Stakes.

Regalo Mia was subsequently beaten by a neck in both the Florida Oaks and Herecomesthebride, before running third in the Appalachian.

Better Lucky, third in the Busher Stakes on the inner track at Aqueduct, tries turf after a big win over first-level allowance sprinters in the mud.

“With her having liked the off going, there’s a chance she’ll like turf as well,” said trainer Tom Albertrani. “It’s kind of an experiment, but going back to the Busher, she put in a big run on the turn and she flattened out. She ran like a turf horse that day, and her pedigree suggests she can run on it.”

Firehouse Red, fourth in the Appalachian, and second in the recent Edgewood at 26-1, is improving for Larry Jones.

Dreaming of Cara, Preach Tome Daddy, and Zultanite also entered.