06/27/2005 11:00PM

Botanical fresh from Dubai


ELMONT, N.Y. - Fans of raw speed have witnessed a surplus of talent in New York, with the likes of Ghostzapper, Speightstown, and Pico Central winning major sprint stakes the past couple of years.

The older male sprint division is currently on the thin side, however, so it will be interesting to see if Botanical can throw his hat into the ring when he makes his U.S. debut in Thursday's eighth-race feature at Belmont Park.

, first-time Lasix for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, breaks from post 2 with Jerry Bailey in a field of five. Owned by Godolphin Racing, Botanical may enjoy a class edge as he makes his first start since finishing a close third in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen back in March.

Even though Botanical was beaten just one length by Saratoga County, and finished a half-length in front of Pico Central in the world's richest dirt sprint, he has won just 2 of 10 career starts and thus remains eligible for this second-level condition.

Thursday's six-furlong distance should also be to Botanical's advantage because both of the 4-year-old's victories came at that trip overseas, each time off workouts - a debut win in England on turf at age 2 and a handy win on dirt at Nad Al Sheba first time out this season.

Botanical was a pace factor in all three of his dirt races in Dubai, so it won't be surprising if Bailey tries to exploit that weapon against four rivals unaccustomed to contesting the early lead at six furlongs.

, who broke next-to-last the only other time he began from the rail, drew that position again for his first start since early February. His seven races since his 2-year-old debut have been at anywhere from seven to nine furlongs.

, freshened after stopping badly at 1 1/16 miles here nearly seven weeks ago, also has not run at such a short distance since his debut at Gulfstream Park back in January.

Clear the Bases has been sixth at the first call in both starts since returning from a six-month layoff, and appears overmatched unless he can run back to one big-figure performance last fall.

Byanosejoe is 2 for 2 at this trip, but is coming off three races at a mile or longer, the latest on turf in a restricted stakes that featured an extremely slow early pace.