06/01/2010 12:00AM

Dantastic lands in a good spot


ELMONT, N.Y. - Dantastic, who returned from a layoff in a very tough New York-bred optional claimer, makes his second start of the year for Rick Schosberg, and may go favored against open company in Thursday's $42,000 starter allowance feature, scheduled for Belmont Park's inner turf at 1 1/16 miles.

After putting in his trademark late run to finish third behind Kingston winner Minnie Punt and the Grade 1-placed Straight Story, Dantastic appears to have found an easier spot against seven other turf-meant rivals, including the entry of Keeping the Honor and Concert Stage, only one of whom will start for trainer Rick Dutrow.

"If we get just a little bit of rain to soften up the turf a little, it wouldn't bother me," said Schosberg, who was eyeing some dark thunderclouds nearby on Tuesday afternoon. "He's less susceptible to a bounce than most horses, because his normal race is to run about a quarter-mile."

Among several contenders with early speed, Silver King took the worst of the post position draw. He breaks from the far outside second time out this year for Alan Goldberg, who this spring has been red-hot throughout the Northeast with fresh horses.

Concert Stage, who will run unless Dutrow opts to bring Keeping the Honor back on three days' rest, likes to be forwardly placed, as do Screenplay and Sydney Road.

Macho Prado and Piazza Di Spagna, a soft-turf specialist, also entered.

* In race 1, the Schosberg-trained Princess Maura also makes her second start of the year in a second-level optional $50,000 claimer for New York-bred fillies and mares scheduled for the Widener turf at seven furlongs.

Princess Maura was a front-running winner over the course last year, but changed things up by coming from off the pace to run second in an open first-level allowance May 14.

"Those were pretty salty fractions and it opened up on the rail," Schosberg explained. "She actually would've blown two conditions had she gotten up, so while it's great to win, sometimes it's okay to be second. I'm probably a bit more concerned about a 'bounce' for her, because she ran such a huge race."

Acquired Cat, who won 3 of 4 starts in this condition for Dominic Galluscio, makes her first start since setting the pace in the Ticonderoga last fall. She is the slight morning-line choice over Princess Maura.