10/05/2012 3:30PM

Belmont: Swift pace in Dream Supreme should benefit Hearts of Red


ELMONT, N.Y. – Hearts of Red may not have been able to hang with the big girls when it came to route races or the turf, but she may have a future as a closing sprinter on dirt.

Hearts of Red rallied from last in a six-horse field to win a second-level allowance going six furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 29. Sunday, it appears Hearts of Red will get a pace dynamic that will allow her to do the same thing when she runs in the $80,000 Dream Supreme Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Dream Supreme, carded as the second event on a 10-race program, serves as the feature after New York Racing Association officials moved two Grade 3 turf stakes – the Miss Grillo and Pilgrim – to Monday.

Though Hearts of Red won a route on the turf last December and an off-the-turf route on the dirt in February, she was soundly beaten in stakes going long on dirt and on turf. After finishing fourth in a stakes-caliber allowance race at Saratoga going 1 1/8 miles in July, she delivered her career-best performance in her last start.

In that race, Hearts of Red was steadied behind horses along the inside early, advanced into contention around the far turn, then tipped four wide and closed powerfully to get the win.

Sunday, she faces four rivals who all seem eager to be on the front end.

“It should be an ideal situation,” trainer Ralph Nicks said. “Sometimes in short fields, the pace doesn’t materialize, but distance-wise it should suit. The way she’s going into it I expect a good effort.”

Cornelio Velasquez will ride from the rail.

Munnings Sister, a full sister to the multiple graded stakes winner Munnings, is the wildcard in this field. She raced on the West Coast, winning at Golden Gate and Pleasanton, and makes her first start since June and for Barclay Tagg.

Tagg said that Munnings Sister had a problem with her neck when she first arrived here this summer.

“She literally couldn’t put her head down. She couldn’t move her head from side to side,” said Tagg, who trains Munnings Sister for Charles Fipke. “Somewhere on the trip she must have flipped and got hurt.”

Tagg said Munnings Sister “is a lovely filly and acts like a classy horse” but he is concerned starting her at seven furlongs off the layoff. Also, at 122 pounds, Munnings Sister carries top weight, spotting three to five pounds to the field.

Baffle Me, a front-running winner at nine furlongs at Saratoga, returns to Belmont, where she finished third behind Questing and Book Review – subsequent stakes winners – going a mile on June 24. Fiftyfour Forever, a second-level allowance winner here on Sept. 19, and Well Kept, who is 2 for 3 in the mud, conditions that could come into play Sunday, complete the field.