Updated on 09/16/2011 7:30AM

Bicentennial worth a look


ELMONT, N.Y. - Before things heat up with the running of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the fourth week of the Belmont Park meet ends with a rare stakes-less Sunday card.

Serving as the day's feature is a second-level allowance race at 11 furlongs on turf. The race features Aplomb, Bicentennial, and J W Black, the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers from a May 9 race run here at the same conditions.

That race was won by 9-5 favorite Illusionary, who defeated the late-running Aplomb by a head with Bicentennial a neck back in third. J W Black, who set the early pace, was only beaten a half-length for all the money.

Aplomb was the recipient of a perfect ground-saving trip by Richard Migliore, but did encounter a little traffic trouble late as he tried to split horses and just missed. He has not often put in consecutive strong efforts, making him a bit vulnerable in this spot.

Meanwhile, trainer Christophe Clement puts blinkers on Bicentennial for the first time. In that May 9 race, Bicentennial appeared to pull himself up when he poked his head in front in deep stretch, and while he continued on gamely, he fell short. If the blinkers help, Bicentennial is the one to beat.

J W Black gets Lasix for the first time, and figures to try and take this field gate to wire under Javier Castellano.

West Cork, a 6-year-old son of Kris S., makes only his third career start for trainer James Bond. Both of West Cork's win came in the summer of 2000 at Saratoga.

Glyndebourne, who was Group 1 placed in Germany last summer, makes his first start since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Man o'War over this track last September.

Violette weighs options for Free of Love

Free of Love, winner of the Westchester Handicap here on opening day, will make his next start in either the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont or the $100,000 Baltimore Breeders' Cup Handicap, trainer Rick Violette said. Both races are on June 15.

Free of Love won the Westchester with a sustained five-furlong move that left him a bit tired after the race, according to Violette. Thursday, Free of Love showed Violette he was back on his game with a solid six-furlong move in 1:14.32 at Aqueduct. According to Violette, Free of Love galloped out a mile in 1:40-and-change.

"We put some wind back in him, and it was a great move," Violette said. "The Brooklyn is a big possibility, and there's a race the same day at Pimlico. We'll keep our eyes on both of them. We're not committing either way; we know he likes Belmont."

Whichever race Violette chooses, his horse will need a new rider. Jerry Bailey, who rode Free of Love to his 1 1/4-length victory in the Westchester, is riding either E Dubai or Street Cry in the Brooklyn for Godolphin Racing.

Before Thursday's workout on dirt, Violette had worked Free of Love a half-mile on turf in 52.25 seconds on May 23. Violette said the work was inconclusive in determining how Free of Love handled the grass, but did not rule out a turf race sometime later in the year.

Bella Bellucci training at Aqueduct

While trainer Neil Drysdale prepares Sunday Break for the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, he is using Aqueduct's main track to get Bella Bellucci ready for Friday's Grade 1 Acorn.

"She really enjoys training there," Drysdale said. "I definitely feel she enjoys it more there."

Last fall, Bella Bellucci showed a fondness for Belmont, winning her maiden and the Astarita Stakes in her first two career starts. Though she ran third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Bella Bellucci was stuck down on the inside part of the track, not the best place to be that day.

Bella Bellucci has not raced since winning the Comely Stakes at Aqueduct on April 14. She was scheduled to run in the Kentucky Oaks, but was scratched when she came up with a low blood count.

"Her blood's normal now," said Drysdale, who plans on running Bella Bellucci in the Mother Goose on June 29 and the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 20. "She's got her future ahead of her. This is a very nice series."

Volponi, off the board at 2-5, had an excuse

Volponi, who finished fourth as the 2-5 favorite in a Thursday allowance race here, came out of the race with two grabbed quarters in his left front heel, and will miss the Brooklyn.

"I have never had one grab a quarter this bad in my whole career," said trainer Phil Johnson, who brought a couple of visitors into the horse's stall to look at the two raw spots on Volponi's heel. "We think for sure the Brooklyn is out. We're going to lose a minimum of one to two weeks just walking around this shed row."

o Whywhywhy, who finished second behind Windsor Lodge in his career debut on May 16, worked five furlongs in 59.82 seconds over the training track Friday morning in preparation for next Friday's $100,000 Flash Stakes for juvenile colts. It was the fastest of 10 moves at the distance.

o Also expected for the Flash, run at five furlongs, are Presence, Renegade Warrior, White Mercedes, and Windsor Lodge. Possible runners include Bring Out the Best, Lets All Smoke, Memo, and Repartment.

for entries.

Subscribers: to purchase past Belmont performances.

Non-subscribers: to purchase Belmont past performances.