06/26/2010 11:00PM

Distance the issue in turf allowance


ELMONT, N.Y. - Handicapping Sunday's first-level allowance feature on the turf at Belmont Park basically comes down to one simple question: Who is best equipped to get 1 1/4 miles?

Only Dance Pass, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, has attempted to run that far, with only a pair of third-place finishes to show for it.

Based on breeding, Senada looks well-equipped to handle the distance. Senada, trained by Barclay Tagg, is a daughter of Pulpit out of the Harlan mare Owsley, who won several races at 1 1/4 miles or farther, including the 2002 New York Handicap at Belmont. She also won the Glens Falls at 1 3/8 miles at Saratoga.

Senada, who was purchased in 2008 for $800,000 as a yearling by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable, has yet to run beyond 1 1/16 miles. In two starts this year, Senada won a one-mile maiden race at Gulfstream and was beaten a neck by favored Protesting in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on May 13.

"She's a pretty nice filly," Tagg said. "I'm hoping a mile and a quarter can transcend her even further."

In her last race, Senada raced wide down the backstretch and came four wide into the stretch. While the eventual winner, Protesting, was one path wider than her in the stretch, the pair eventually worked their way down to the rail. When it looked like Protesting was going to open up near the finish, Senada fought back.

"I think she's kind of gritty," Tagg said. "I don't think she had the same kind of numbers as [Protesting] did."

Vee finished one length behind Senada in that May 13 race and came back to finish fourth in a similar race on June 4. Vee's lone victory from seven starts came in her only try at 1 1/8 miles.

Dance Pass went 1 for 8 in Ireland before being sent to North America and trainer Christophe Clement last fall. She finished fourth in the Grade 3 Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct in her final start of the year. In two starts this year, Dance Pass was beaten a head when third at Keeneland and, most recently, finished second in a first-level allowance here May 28.

"She stays," Clement said. "I think a mile and a quarter is a better distance than a mile and an eighth."

Gold d'Oro is only 1 for 10, but her three best races came at 1 1/8 miles. The Bill Mott trainee attempts 1 1/4 miles for the first time.