06/27/2005 12:00AM

Carryover, Artax spice up action


ELMONT, N.Y. - After a couple of weeks of rather mundane racing at Belmont Park, things pick up Wednesday with a healthy pick-six carryover, the return of two talented sprinters from injury, and the $60,000 Artax, an overnight handicap for sprinters.

While pick-six players chase the $51,626 carryover after Sunday's parade of longshots, the intrigue on Wednesday's card begins in race 3 - one race before the pick six begins - when stakes winners Roman Ruler and Commentator meet in a third-level allowance race.

Wednesday's featured event, the $60,000 Artax Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs, features a match between stakes winners Smokume and Thunder Touch.

, a 4-year-old gelded son of Smoke Glacken, won the Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park on May 14, his first start off a seven-month layoff. Trainer Allen Jerkens wheeled him back in the Grade 2 True North Breeders' Cup here on Belmont Day, when Smokume dueled through hot fractions with Woke Up Dreamin before giving way in the final furlong and finishing fourth, 3 3/4 lengths behind Woke Up Dreamin.

Chantal Sutherland, winless from 44 mounts at this meet, rides Smokume from post 2.

Wednesday, Smokume figures to be part of the pace again, and could end up dueling with , who drew inside of him. Off for a year following surgery to remove ankle chips, Summer Service won a third-level allowance race over a muddy Belmont main track May 26. Even though Summer Service won with blinkers on, trainer Bruce Levine has opted to remove the blinkers Wednesday.

"He pulled himself a little bit last time out," Levine said. "He made the lead and seemed to wait on horses like he didn't see them. He trains without blinkers, and I just don't think he needs them anymore."

A duel between Summer Service and Smokume could set things up for , who took advantage of a swift pace to win the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap last November at Aqueduct. Sixth of seven in the Jaipur on turf, Thunder Touch returns to the dirt and should handle the 6 1/2 furlongs. He will be ridden by Eibar Coa, who has won 20 races from 66 mounts since June 12.