07/21/2009 12:00AM

Doree Daze has key versatility


ELMONT, N.Y. - With a forecast of scattered thunderstorms in the wake of a Tuesday-morning soaker, it's anyone's guess what the conditions will be for Thursday's featured eighth race at Belmont Park, a $45,000 optional claimer scheduled for seven furlongs on the Widener turf.

Among the baker's dozen of New York-bred fillies and mares (10 entered for grass and a trio for the main track only), most have demonstrated distinct footing preferences, with the versatile Doree Daze - the lone entrant to have won on turf and wet dirt - a notable exception, and likely to be forwardly placed either way.

"I'd prefer to run on grass, but we have no control over the weather," said her trainer, John Morrison. "We'll see what Mother Nature brings."

Last fall, Doree Daze pressed the pace and drew clear late to win a six-furlong maiden race on the inner turf. In her first start this season, she went wire to wire over a good main track.

"I wasn't sure how she would handle dirt, but she handled it fine," said Morrison

Doree Daze was checked at the break in her only subsequent start seven weeks ago, but has been training well recently at Stonebridge Farm just outside of Saratoga Springs in nearby Schuylerville, N.Y.

"She's been based there since she was a 2-year-old and just loves the atmosphere," said Morrison, who noted she worked very well over the seven-eighth-mile synthetic surface at Stonebridge on July 10.

Had this race been run last week, when several course records were threatened, Acquired Cat - who excels at seven furlongs on the Widener and likes to hear her feet rattle - would have been the one to beat despite an outside draw. She overcame post 12 to win first time off a claim by Dominic Galluscio on May 31, but was scratched from a similar spot June 24 when the course came up yielding.

Nedjma, third in her comeback race on that yielding course, was a maiden winner on good turf at Belmont for Mike Hushion in 2007.

Queen of Protocol, also second back, won an allowance on yielding turf last season for David Donk.

A switch to dirt would favor One Tough Belle, a Scott Volk-trained Monmouth shipper, and Summer Palace, idle 10 weeks but working swiftly since being claimed by Greg DiPrima. Both are three-time winners on Belmont's main track.