09/19/2002 11:00PM

Chiselling tops deep Jamaica


ELMONT, N.Y. - An accomplished group of 3-year-old male turf horses meet in Sunday's $200,000 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park.

Nine entered the Grade 2 Jamaica, plus two main-track only runners, Dr. Rockett and Volkonsky. The strong field includes Chiselling and Jazz Beat, the winner and runner-up in the Grade 1 Secretariat. The 1 1/8-mile Jamaica also drew Devious Indian, a group winner in France; graded winner Miesque's Approval; and Ibn Al Haitham, who showed dramatic form reversal when recently switched to the grass.

Chiselling, a half to Grade 1 winners Honest Lady and Chester House, drops back in distance after two narrow wins in 1 1/4-mile stakes. Chiselling won the Grade 3 Lexington here in July by a nose over Finality, who is also entered in the Jamaica, and then won the Secretariat at Arlington on Aug. 17 by a nostril after collaring Jazz Beat.

Chiselling's trainer, Bobby Frankel, said based on time, the Secretariat (2:04.16) came up a much weaker race than the Arlington Million (2:02.94), which was run an hour earlier and won by the Frankel-trained Beat Hollow.

"It was an okay race, not that strong," said Frankel, who trains Chiselling for Juddmonte Farms, "One thing is for sure, the race didn't hurt him and he's doing well."

Kent Desormeaux rides Chiselling, the 121-pound highweight, from post 3.

Ibn Al Haitham, a Zafonic colt, was performing dismally on the dirt, but when he was switched to the turf, he underwent a transformation. Ibn Al Haitham won a maiden race on the grass by 9 1/2 lengths last month at Saratoga in his first start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. On Sept. 2, he won the Grade 3 Saranac by a half-length over Finality.

"Obviously, [the turf] was a whole new lease on life for him," said McLaughlin, who won the Jamaica with Allied Forces in 1996. "This race is going to be a little tougher than the last race, but he ran very well, so we'll see."

Richard Migliore, shooting for his fourth win in the Jamaica, rides Ibn Al Haitham, who drew post 6.

Devious Indian makes his American debut after winning the Group 3 Prix Quincey at Deauville on Aug. 31. Andre Fabre, Devious Indian's trainer, said the colt prefers firm ground. Showers are in the forecast for Sunday.

Jazz Beat, trained by Dermot Weld, makes his third transatlantic journey in the last two months. He was flown home to Ireland after his second-place finishes in the American Derby and Secretariat. The Jamaica will be telecast on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

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