05/27/2004 11:00PM

Dedication takes on males


ELMONT, N.Y. - Azeri, who is running in Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, won't be the only female taking on males this holiday weekend at Belmont Park.

, who beat males in Group 1 company in France last year, will take on the boys again Sunday at Belmont Park in the Grade 3, $100,000 Jaipur Handicap at seven furlongs on the turf.

Trainer Christophe Clement said he preferred to run Dedication in the Jaipur instead of next weekend's Just a Game for fillies and mares because he likes the distance and the fact Dedication will carry only 114 pounds. The Just a Game is run at one mile.

"In the Just a Game she'd carry a ton of weight," Clement said. "She's doing well. It's the boys, but they're all giving me weight."

Dedication has won two of her last three, including a half-length victory in the Grade 3 Beaugay Handicap at Aqueduct on May 1.

"She moved very early that day," Clement said. "A mile and a sixteenth is the end of the world for her. She seems to run better if you can wait a little bit."

Edgar Prado, who has won twice on Dedication, will be back aboard in the Jaipur.

California shipper Geronimo and the Kentucky-based Banned in Boston are two of Dedication's toughest challengers in the Jaipur. Geronimo has been chasing the likes of King Robyn and Sweet Return in Southern California and may find the East Coast company a bit more to his liking.

, a Chilean-bred son of Gold Tribute, will have to prove he can handle an East Coast turf course that will likely have some give in the ground from recent rain.

"He should handle it," trainer Mike Machowsky said. "He's pretty solid and runs his race every time. I've had this race in the back of my mind for a while, and I think seven-eighths hits him right between the eyes."

John Hennig, the trainer of Banned in Boston, also likes the distance for his horse, who is coming out of a pair of 5 1/2-furlong sprints. Most recently, was beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Aegon Turf Sprint at Churchill on April 30.

"I think the added distance will really help him," Hennig said. "He's probably a pretty good miler. If we could've got out a little earlier, we possibly could've won the race at Churchill."

Lismore Knight, He's Crafty, Great Notion, and Multiple Choice complete the field. Savoy Special would run if the race comes off the turf.