10/18/2008 11:00PM

Distance a worry for Thunders Dove


ELMONT, N.Y. - Thunders Dove is the best horse in Sunday's $75,000 Vivano Stakes at Belmont Park and also looms the controlling speed. The question is whether she can handle seven furlongs.

Thunders Dove, a 4-year-old daughter of Thunderello, will attempt seven furlongs for the first time in the Vivano, a race for fillies and mares restricted to non-graded stakes winners of 2008. Thunders Dove, trained by Nick Zito, has won 5 of 10 races overall and three straight, including a three-length victory in the Drumtop Stakes at Suffolk Downs on Sept. 20.

Those three wins have come at six furlongs. The one time Thunders Dove raced beyond six furlongs was in a second-level allowance race in May going 6 1/2 furlongs when she was beaten a head by Are We Dreamin, who also is in this field.

Thunders Dove, who breaks from post 2 under Stewart Elliott, is the 123-pound co-highweight along with Over Forli.

Dicey Girl finished second to Thunders Dove in a fourth-level allowance race at Monmouth on Aug. 28. Steve Klesaris, the trainer of Dicey Girl, was so impressed with Thunders Dove that he scratched another horse he had out of the Drumtop.

"That was a fast race," Klesaris said of the Aug. 28 race that went in 1:09.01. "I had a horse entered in the race up at Suffolk and when I saw Zito in there, we scratched."

Dicey Girl has 4 seconds and a win from her last 5 starts, which have produced several next-out stakes winners. Sheets, who finished third in that Aug. 28 race, came back to win a $200,000 turf stakes at Philadelphia. Jet Away Jane, who beat Dicey Girl in a stakes race at Penn National, came back to win a Pennsylvania-bred stakes at Philly.

Dicey Girl has won her only start at seven furlongs.

"I think seven furlongs is a good distance for her," Klesaris said. "She doesn't quite show the early speed she did when she first began her career."

Over Forli, Boca Grande, and Windy are other contenders in the field. Boca Grande, a Grade 2 winner in 2007, won a third-level allowance race by four lengths. Windy came back off a nine-month layoff to run fourth in the Grade 2 First Flight before regressing in her next race won by Over Forli.

"She earned a good number in the First Flight and then she went the other way," Windy's trainer Chad Brown said. "If she comes back to that number she ran in the First Flight, she's in the game."