06/30/2010 11:00PM

Clement seeking turnaround at Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - A pair of high-class money allowance races scheduled for the turf highlight Belmont Park's nine-race card Friday, and trainer Christophe Clement is hopeful that one or both can turn around what has been somewhat of a frustrating meet.

Clement, who entered the week 6 for 60 here this summer with 11 seconds and 12 thirds, sends out Staying On in a $60,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles that goes as the third. In the eighth, Clement starts the entry of Armstrong Mill and Grassy in a 1 1/4-mile allowance event.

Staying On, a listed stakes winner in Europe, is winless in two starts in this country for Clement. In January, at Gulfstream, Staying On finished third behind stakes winners Yate's Black Cat and Sterwins. Four months later, Staying On finished last in the $93,000 Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth. In that race, Staying On chased the winner, Get Stormy, after being rank early on.

"He was too anxious before the race," Clement said. "It'd be nice to be able to take him back and rate him. He may be better suited for longer races, I'm not sure."

Staying On will be taking on stakes winners Buddy's Humor and Wesley, both of whom are trying to regain their best form.

Buddy's Humor will be making just his second start in a year. In February, he finished last in a dirt allowance at Gulfstream in February. Trainer Bruce Levine said Buddy's Humor came out of the race with a bruised foot that necessitated some time off.

Though Buddy's Humor won the off-the-turf Pan American at 1 1/4 miles at Gulfstream last year, his four turf wins have come at a mile or 1 1/16 miles. Levine said he would prefer to see Buddy's Humor target a horse, and may get his wish if Extra Zip goes to the front.

Wesley, who won a race similar to this at Gulfstream, comes out of disappointing efforts in a pair of graded stakes.

In the eighth, Clement appears to have a strong hand with Grassy and Armstrong Mill. Grassy finished 10th of 12 in the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico at 1 1/8 miles and was scratched out of a race similar to this going 1 1/16 miles last week because Clement wanted to run him longer on firm turf.

Armstrong Hill finished third in a similar spot as this on June 2 and has only finished worse than third once in nine starts.

Pocket Cowboys has run two strong races at 1 1/4 miles here this meet.