07/11/2010 11:00PM

Couples therapy takes effect at Belmont


ELMONT, N.Y. - A rule change uncoupling same-trainer different-owner entries at all state tracks was approved by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board recently, and takes effect starting Wednesday - not a moment too soon, since entries will be light during the final week of this spring-summer meet.

"I think it's going to help the allowance races a lot," said trainer David Donk, who will send out Paraiba and Dancing Daisy, two of the six fillies and mares in the $53,000, one-mile feature for New York-breds scheduled for the Widener turf. "It's a big boost to the New York Racing Association, most clients understand there will be times when a trainer has more than one horse eligible for the same spot, and this is the way it's done throughout the rest of the country."

Paraiba will be accorded a solid chance to run down the Steve Asmussen-trained Cagey Girl, who is the morning-line choice and likely to be loose on the lead in quest of her third straight win.

Donk said of Paraiba last fall, "I don't think we've seen the best of her yet." That proved to be a prophetic assessment when she returned to beat open allowance fillies in her first start of the year, and followed with a second in the Mount Vernon at 16-1, and a fourth in a slow-paced renewal of the Rooney Memorial at Delaware Park.

"She's an up-and-coming New York-bred - she's very honest and on the improve," said Donk. "She ran very well in the Mount Vernon, and last time she had a little too much to do, but finished well and galloped out well."

Handicappers who fancy Dancing Daisy would have had their price ruined under the old rules, but are now looking at a 15-1 quote on the morning line for her first start in nearly 10 weeks, and first on turf since last August.

Dancing Daisy, a maiden winner on the Widener course as a 2-year-old, notched 3 wins from 6 starts on both dirt tracks at Aqueduct from December through April.

"I haven't gotten the opportunity to explore the grass with her in a while," Donk explained. "This is not an easy spot, but it gives us a chance to see whether she'll step up or not."

Meriwether Jessica, Our Golden Dream, and Sonic Sound round out a short but competitive field